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Full text of "History of Fresno County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present"

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M. L 

GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



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HISTORY OF 



FRESNO COUNTY 



CALIFORNIA 



WITH 



Biographical S/cetc/ies 



T/ie Lecic/ing- Me/i and IFodicii of tlie Comity IF/w Juvve 

bccfi Ide?itified witii its Gfowtli and 

Development ffom tiie Ea?dy 

Days to t/ie Present 




HISTORY BY 
PAUL E. VAN DOR 

ILLUSTRATED 
COMPLETE IN TWO VOLUMES 

HISTORIC RECORD COMPANY 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 
1919 



PREFACE 1154033 



r^ 



History is lite essence of innumerable biographies. — CARLYLE. 

Xy The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of recollection: and he ccill in turn 

^ be supplanted by his successor of /oinorcoiy.— WASHINGTON IRVING. 

■^ The happy historian has no other labor than of gathering what tradition pours dozvn 

fs^ before him, or records treasure for him. Y^ even ivith these advantages, few in any age 
\ ' have been able to raise themselves to reputation by writing histories. — DR. SAMUEL 
Vy JOHNSON. 

^ History, being a Lollcition of faits JiuJi uu iniiltipl\in., ^ithuut end ]\ obh^id to adopt 

Q arts of abndgnunt to iLtatn tin niou niattiial ici)i/j and to diop all tlu tnmntt liuhui 

V^ stances which aie only interesting ditiing tlu time, oi to tht piisons ingOr^td in tin tiaiis- 

O action— nUU^ 



In nation th, fii r' ^"'^ '/'' A'''^ '" /'mMm //'. / ;. ^ a 

the piuuiphs nil, I ' ' '/ ii//i//» //) /^'uii iiuiui m .,/ 

pcrfunif, oiih luili , I'u iiu 1 1 d ,/ hish.ix 1, i, // 

truth -Jiuh Illicit •■ 'l^"l ■iiiioi,., I'l II III, .,,././ ,„ 

the mass dtriies its Ji 'L >iliu mid tlu piiaoiis t'aituhs ai, ^nuuilh 
the baser m such a iiuniini that tin s,paiatioii is u ta\l of Ih, utiiinst di] 
MACAULAY. 



The pride in his own California of tlie native born and of tlie citizen that has adopted 
it as his state, is only too well grounded. The transient visitor is charmed by California, 
enraptured by her natural wonders, marvels at her wealth .md pi ii. lUiahiir^ lie beholds 
on every side nature's and man's verilication of the wonderful .iii.l .iln-i m. inlible tales 
that have been told of the new El Dorado; he ceases to wondei uli\ u i, IhM m such esteem 
and he comprehends why the pioneer located in this sun-kissed iLrrcstnal paradise to end 
his wanderings and why "Eureka," the Greek motto, was exultingly adopted as that of the 
state to be perpetuated in its Great Seal. 

California is the accepted Wonderland of the Far West; it is the Empire State of the 
Golden West, the diadem in the coronet of the Pacific Slope states, inseparably part >,\ the 
greatness of the nation, close-bound by the transcontinental railways and umre recinil\ by 
the latest wonder-creation of the world in the Panama Canal, the work of Anu rican lirains, 
enterprise and money. Once upon a time, upon the map of the world, California was an 
undefined thing without metes or bounds. Today it is America's western outpost of com- 
merce with the East — the fabled Indies which the venturesome explorers strove to discover 
but in their failures stumbled on a new continent, while later enterprising navigators located 
the storied Californias of the .\nia;-nns whose very name was appropriated from one of the 
most picturesquely evolved lulion, ,,| a iii..lia\al poet. 

There is not another siaia uiih a lii-iiir\ such as California's, whether for entrancing 
poetical interest, picturesque ri'in.mcr, \anii\, ,id\enturous character and origiualitv of ex- 
periences and incidents, or, lastly, wondmus niaPrial clc\ili >piiii m ami wmlih li is a tale 
without precedent, without after-counterpari li > min, n, ,ii,',| 11,11,-11 ii-,|i, - li i.I, us cl the 
poet's imagery, baffled the philosopher's oniiii^ciencr It 1, 1 nin.iiu, wnlhuit parallel. It 
is an e.xuberant story of wonderful acliievenieuts, of -rrai died,, inllnwiii^ grand amis, that 
has made California famous. Probably no state sa\a lli. .niuiiial lliirieen can point to a 
greater anthology. California has been the favorite .md iia \li aiisiil,!, tlienie for the indus- 
trious historian, the dreamy poet, and the imagin,ili\e .and creati\e fiction writer. New 
works on the llieme appear every year. No one of these has pictured all phases of Cali- 
forni.a's claims to greatness and beauty. Like classic poem or tale, or familiar soul;, the 
tale rif C.ilifornia never wearies or stales, but gains new charm and zest in the retelling. 

In a modest work of the compass of these volumes, primarily the plain story of a county, 
such phases only of tlir spita's liist,.i\ in its rapid development are touched upon to empha- 
size upon the reader ilu- racr .md niMti\c characteristics of the people that colonized the 
land and of those that ci^iLpi. nd ami d.\al(ipcd it; to compare the "poco tiempo" era of the 
Spaniard^^with the "All ri'alit ; ljm ali. id" tiiiKs of the American; the lagging, deferring 
"manana" of the one, wdth tlir al, n, widr awake rush of the other in meeting obstacles and 
ever pressing forward. Wh- w.ll ..,\ ih at d.stinv's hand did not retard colonization by one 
decadent race, for the swift e\nhitioii by a virile, red-blooded race, representing a com- 



mingling of many bloods ? 



Sufficient early California history as a background is touched upon to prepare the reader 
for the main work of the History of Fresno County. The history of the state linds its 
counterpart in many of the older counties, fields that unfortunately have been only too 
lightly surface-scratched, so engrossed were the actors and the chroniclers of the day in 
the development of the material resources. There is a late awakening in research work to 
shed new light, to learn more of the history of the state and its counties. The regret is 
that the work has been delayed until after so many of the actors have passed away. 

The writer of this History of Fresno County entered upon the work as a task ; as it 
progressed over a period of years it became a labor nf ln\c It was a stupendous undertaking, 
covering as it did a bird's-eye retrospect of ^ixt\ tin.. \i,irs. Necessarily there had to be 
abridgment. The scheme was adopted of pixMiiiin- liu lnstriry in popular narrative form, 
tracing the development of the county by industrial ipocliN, following a general chronological 
order, eliminating much of the dross of minor and passmg events, to bring out the abstract, 
salient and permanent truths and results, while not suppressing the local coloring in the 
personal element. 

So-called histories of the county have been many. For the greater part they have not 
been regarded as authoritative reference works. They have been the hurried labor of super- 
ficial hack writers, unacquainted with their subject, the historical subordinated to the com- 
mercial feature of the publications. Xo history of the county has been printed since "The 
History of Fresno County," published in 1882, by Wallace W. Elliott and Company, of San 
Francisco. It was a work of original research and a trustworthy authority. 

The editor and publishers of these volumes present them confidently as a verified and 
authoritative history of the county — the result of conscientious labor in original research, 
and of information imparted by pioneers and their descendants, entered upon originally as a 
pastime and without thought of publication of the collated material. It essays to present 
county and city historical data that had lasting bearing on the times, but which with many 
of the picturesque incidents were ignored or overlooked in the publications that have gone 
before ; and lastly it is an endeavor also to fill in the hiatus of the years since 1882, to bring 
to date the tale of the development and growth of a county which, from a small beginning 
with a rough and uncouth mining population and hardy pioneers, has become one of the 
richest, politically best governed and industrially typical of a great state. 

Incredible as their development and growth have been, through successive industrial 
epochs, the mind cannot grasp the future of State and County when the twin Sacramento 
and San Joaquin Valleys will have reached the zenith of development and production. 
California is today a self-supporting empire in itself. It is dependent upon the world for 
only a few of the raw materials demanded for certain manufacturing and industrial enter- 
prises. It is developing these. The zenith having been attained, Fresno County will be a 
leading contributor to California's greater riches, enhanced production, and to the unmeas- 
ured happiness and prosperity of its citizens. Fresno is the state's center. A remarkable 
past will be eclipsed by a more wonderful future — it is manifest destiny. 

—PAUL E. VANDOR. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 



Introductory 31 

California a land of wonders and surprises. Fresno County an Empire 
within an Empire. Assessed property valuations. The Valley is the 
keystone in the arch of the State's wealth. Interior region little affected • 
by the Spanish and Mexican regime save in the nomenclature of 
landmarks. 

CHAPTER II 



Roster of Earliest Living Pioneers 34 

Changes brought about by the mutation of time. Linking the present 
living with the remote dead past. The days of the Squaw Man. Sur- 
viving pioneers antedating days before county organization. A fre- 
quently changing and ever shrinking roster. Some of the picturesque 
characters that have passed away. Pioneers of the mining period of 
the decade of the 'SO's. 

CHAPTER III 

History of State is Unique and Redolent of Romance 43 

Riches of State greater than those of the fabled Indies. Practically 
unpeopled before the discovery of gold. "Inferno of '49" startles the 
world. The day of another controlling race dawns with the setting of 
the sun on the Golden Age of the Missions. 

CHAPTER IV 

California's Colonization Delayed for Centuries 45 

Settlements all located on the coast. Upper California imperfectly 
known. E.xpeditions undertaken to locate new mission sites. Ensign 
Moraga the most enterprising explorer of his time. Journey of Padre 
Garces. 

CHAPTER V 

Tulare Swamps the Rendezvous of Outlaws 49 

Fremont hesitated not to buy stolen horses. Fages the first white man 
to look upon interior valley. Pursuit and surrender of Santa Clara 
Indians. Vallejo countenances shocking butchery of hapless prisoners. 
Kidnapping of Gentile children. 

CHAPTER VI 

Fresno County is the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley 52 

The city is the State's practical geographical center. Physical features 
of the great interior basin. Climate a most valuable asset. Develop- 
ment change due to irrigation. Destiny is to support a much larger 
farming population. Fullest growth will be obtained with conservation 
of water and forests. 

CHAPTER VII 

Discovery of Gold in California 56 

Disputed date of discovery. Amount of gold shipped. A wild and 
reckless population gathers. Some figures of the extraordinary acces- 
sion by land and sea. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER VIII 

First Reports From Gold Mines Excite Incredulity 59 

Official confirmation. Colonel Mason's extravagant idea of figures. 
The placers are visited and reported on. State Geologist Trask's 
prophecies. Fresno's camps of the southern mines. First local mining 
settlements. 

CHAPTER IX 

Practical Disappearance of the Indian 65 

Characteristics of Valle}- Tribes. Polygamy was not uncommon. At 
starvation point following reservation liberation after the 1850-51 
uprising. Si.xteen tribes signed the Treaty of Peace of 1851 in Fresno. 

CHAPTER X 

Indian Troubles in 1850 70 

Squaw discloses tribal conspiracy. Trader Savage outmarshaled in 
diplomacy. Murders and plunder forays, with mutilation of victims. 
Mariposa's battalion of rangers is formed, commanded by Savage. 

CHAPTER XI 

Mariposa Indian War Campaign 73 

Chief Teniyea obstructs entry into valley. Chowchillas and Yosemites 
remain obdurate. Favorite son killed and Teniyea held captive at end 
of rope. End of war. Yosemites exterminated by the Monos. 

CHAPTER XII 



Major Savage a Picturesque Character 

Consorted with Indians nearly all his life. Wagered his weight in 
gold on turn of a card. Indian affairs in hands of a political ring. 
Savage cowardly murdered in defense of Indians. 

CHAPTER XIII 



Permanent Settling Up of Fresno a Slow Process 

Millerton .at its zenith in 1853. First locations of trading posts and 
mining camps. Centerville a flourishing community. Earliest glimpse 
of future county seat. First assessment rolls of 1856-57. 

CHAPTER XIV 



Early Days of Fort Miller and Millerton 

Picturesqueness of mining days. Freight teams, mounted express and 
stages enlivened villagers. Enforcing state foreign miner's tax. Joaquin 
Murieta and his reign of terror. Capture of Garcia. 

CHAPTER XV 



Organization of Fresno County 91 

First elected county officials. Many years a Democratic stronghold. 
A statistical curiosity of 1857. Year of birth the remarkable one of the 
great vigilance committee. "Lone Republican of Fresno." 

CHAPTER XVI 

Milestones in Millerton's History 95 

Official records incomplete. Construction of jail. Miner's tax collec- 
tions. First sheriff incompetent. Boundary line disputes. Early 
licensed ferries. Lumber operations on Pine Ridge. Tollhouse grade. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XVII 

MiLLERTON Courthouse a Worry for Ten Years 101 

Abandoned on removal of county seat. Courtroom becomes the town 
assembly hall. Building recalls tragic mystery in Fresno's official 
annals and the first defalcation. 

CHAPTER XVIII 

MiLLERTON Lacking in Civic Spirit 104 

No town plat or incorporation. Nearness to rich placers controlled 
site. Stage lines and slow mail deliveries. Franco-German war news 
rushed on by stage coach after purchase by club in Visalia. 

CHAPTER XIX 

Characteristics of Early Settlers of California 108 

Political opinions during Civil War. Firing on Fort Sumter stirred up 
strong Union sentiment. Gambling and drinking a state-wide habit. 
Leveling tendencies of pioneer days. A tribute to womanhood. 

CHAPTER XX 

MiLLERTON Retrogressive Rather Than Progressive Ill 

County seat removal suggested in 1870. Surroundings of village. Big 
fire on eve of the Fourth of Tuly. 1870. Unaided by Fort. Millerton 
never housed its fixed population. 

CHAPTER XXI 

Early Flood and Drought Periods 117 

Scottsburg washed away. Millerton never rallied from disastrous flood 
on Christmas eve. 1867. San Joaquin a blessing and a curse. Gigantic 

irrigation project is failure. 

CHAPTER XXII 

Early Settlers of Millerton 122 

McKenzies, Harts and Hoxies among earliest families. Gillum Baley 
elected county judge. Personal recollections of other pioneers. 

CHAPTER XXIII 



Social Side of Pioneer Days in Eresno 128 

Big families the general rule. No marriageable woman needed to be 
without husband. Women in numerical majority. First white child 
born in county. Practical jokes characteristic of the times. Artlessness 
of political candidates. No mincing of king's English. 

CHAPTER XXIV 

Saddest Chapter in Fresno's History 134 

Pathetic end of three prominent men. Gaster as a defaulter dies in 
foreign clime. Converse fills the grave of a suicide. McCray dies as a 
pauper. 

CHAPTER XXV 

Southern Secession Strong in the County 141 

Millerton newspapers keep alive political rancor. Desecration of flag 
incidents. Fort Miller reoccupied by soldiery in 1863. Swashbuckler 
publications villified administration. Assassination of Editor Mc- 
Whirter. The Republican is the conspicuous journalistic success. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XXVI 

County Seat Removal in 1874 151 

Big defalcation is discovered. Fresno is staked out in May, 1872. 
Millerton deserted. First passenger train schedule of 1873. Court- 
house corner stone laying. Visit of first circus. Courthouse fire in 1895. 

CHAPTER XXVII 

Industrial Period.s in State and County 157 

Lumbering conspicuous in Fresno. First handworked "sawmill" at 
Fort Miller. Hulse, pioneer of millmen. Pine Ridge is scene of mill 
activities. Directory of first "Bullwhackers" and sawmill men. 
Corporate fluming operations. 

CHAPTER XXVIII 

Pastoral Period Succeeds Placer Mining in 1864 161 

Stockraising becomes dominant industry. Dairying neglected. "No 
fence law" tolled requiem of stock business. The "Sandlapper" comes 
to the fore. Wool raising an important consideration. Prominent 
stockmen listed. They discovered Sierra's scenic wonders in the quest 
for pasture. 

CHAPTER XXIX 

Agriciilture Takes Possession of Valley in the 70's 167 

Dry farming conducted on gigantic scale. Discouraged by stockmen. 
Fertility of soil demonstrated. Development of labor saving machinery. 
First farming on plains. Failure of Alabama settlement. 

CHAPTER XXX 

Vasquez and His Robber B-and 172 

Millerton given great scare. Murieta's retreat is starting point for raids. 
State is terrorized. Vasquez hanged for murder at Tres Pinos. 

CHAPTER XXXI 

Water for Irrigation and Railroad Aid in Upbuilding of Fresno. . . . 17b 
Sycamore as rival to new county seat. Failure of gigantic irrigation 
project. Railroad exacted tribute from farmers and towns. Leland 
Stanford's prophecies. Historic transaction giving rise to the familiar 
Harris land title. 

CHAPTER XXXII 

Irrigation and Its Gradual Development 180 

M. J. Church remembered after death in a bequest. Easterby makes a 
success of wheat farming. Church champions irrigation and develops 
it despite implacable hostilities. A marvelous transformation comes 
about in first decade. 

CHAPTER XXXIII 

Fresno is the Center of the Sun-Dried Raisin Industry 187 

Spain outdistanced in 1892. Stabilization of prices. California acreage 
the largest in the world. First raisin exhibit at 1863 State Fair. Seeded 
raisin a Fresno creation. 

CHAPTER XXXIV 

Raisin Industry the Financial Barometer 192 

Many efforts at cooperative control. Crisis faced at close of year 1917. 
Spectacular campaign staged for new contracts. Prosperity under- 
written for six years. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XXXV 



Development of the Wine Industry 198 

Fresno leads in sweet wine and brandy. Conditions ideal for sun cur- 
ing of products. Citrus growing belt of valley. Local nursery stock 
of a year sufficient to supply entire State. 

CHAPTER XXXVI 

California Ranks Ten in Value of Farm Products 204 

Raisin industry outranks all increases in Fresno County. It has the 
credit for more than one-half of state's dried peach crop. For hay 
and forage it is third. Rice growing is making great strides. Sacra- 
mento Valley raises ninety-five per cent of the cotton in the State. 

CHAPTER XXXVII 

Romantic Side of Horticulture in California 208 

The story of the minute fig wasp in the introduction of a coming in- 
dustry. Early experimentation in caprification. Revolutionizing the 
grape industry. The rabbit drive as a sport. 

CHAPTER XXXVIII 

Possikilities of Cotton Culture in the Valley 213 

Warning against mistakes made after Civil War. The Egyptian variety 
recommended. Fig production will play an important role. Currant 
grape another commercial factor in raisin belt. 

CHAPTER XXXIX 

Life and Public Career of M. Theo. Kearney 218 

Lived in solitary grandeur in chateau without companion or friend. 
Died unattended on the high seas. Championed the formation of the 
first raisin growers' association. 

CHAPTER XL 

The Litigious Side of the Raisin Business 225 

Pettit's long fight as the impoverished inventor of the seeder machine. 
Forsyth pre-seeding machine is rejected as lacking novelty. Liquid- 
ation of first association lags in courts for six years. 

CHAPTER XLI 

Notable Benefactions to the County 230 

Frederick Roeding, M. Theo. Kearney and William J. Dickey made 
generous gifts. Dr. Lewis Leach is remembered as noteworthy per- 
sonage. Frank H. Ball made large bequests to public institutions. 

CHAPTER XLII 

Influence of Dr. Chester Rowell in Upbuilding of Community 237 

Noted physician, founder of a newspaper, organizer and leader of a 
party. Unique local character was Fulton G. Berry. His funeral a 
remarkable spectacle. 

CHAPTER XLIII 

Development of Land, Commercial and Financial Interests 244 

First great land promoter was Thomas E. Hughes. His activities fast- 
ened upon him the appellation of "Father of Fresno." Louis Einstein 
was a pierstone in foundation of conservative commercial and financial 
life of city. Otto Froelich was pioneer merchant and banker. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XUV 

Land Holding Barons of Pioneer Days 253 

Jefferson James last of picturesque cattle kings. Henry Miller never 
knew how much he possessed in land or live stock. Frederick Roeding 
made known the agricultural possibilities of desert lands. 

CHAPTER XLV 

Colony Settlement System Contributes to Agricultural Growth. . . . 260 
Central California colony the pioneer in the county. The Alabama 
and Holland failures. Early farmers were extravagant in use of wa- 
ter. Sterilization of soil with appearance of alkali is consequence. 

CHAPTER XLVI 

Newer Town Locations Represent Later Development Period 268 

Brief review of their origin. Fresno in 1879 still a cow county vil- 
lage. Burials in town ceased, only in 1875. Two transcontinental 
railroads serve county. A remarkable mountain railroad into the Sier- 
ras. Automobile has solved problem of interurban communication. 

CHAPTER XLVII 

Incorporated Cities of the County 274 

Newness of the towns on the plains with Fresno as oldest located and 
first to incorporate. Settlements existing before 1872 are memories 
of the past. Clusters of population before 1880. Earlier tradmg points 
called to mind. With Madera's divorce in 1893 went the early histor- 
ical region of Fresno County north of San Joaquin River. 

CHAPTER XLVHI 

Shelbyville Recalls a ^^^IDESPREAD Swindle of the Land Boom Days. . 279 
It was a lottery conception of an eastern theatrical man. Town had 
no existence save in the mind and on a filed map. Site has long re- 
verted to the state for unpaid taxes. Fresno as the first incorporated 
town in the county. Chance discovery of earliest recorded townsite on 
Dry Creek in 1875. 

CHAPTER XLIX 

CoALiNGA Oil Field is the Largest Producer in the State 283 

Another interesting chapter in the history of a wonderful county. A 
great industry established in a waste sheep grazing region. Coalinga 
in early days typical of western mining camp. First oil excitement of 
1865 recalled. California's petroleum possibilities first recognized 
about 1900. Coal deposits had proved inadequate for fuel supply. 

CHAPTER L 

Oil District is One of the State's Great \\'ealth Producers . .... 288 
Early drilling methods were crude. Tales of frenzied finance mark 
early development days. Picturesque features in exploitation of West 
Side field. A story as interesting as that of the gold period of the 
Argonauts. 

CHAPTER LI 

Evans-Sontag Reign of Terror of 1893 296 

Most lurid chapter in criminology of county. Many armed conflicts 
with officers of the law and escape of the bandits. Populace in the 
foothills blocked authorities. Leader ended his days in a county poor 
farm. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER LII 

Location by Railroad of Townsite of City of Fresno in 1872 301 

A. J. Maassen the first settler. William H. Ryan was at death the old- 
est continuous resident. Russell H. Fleming now holds that distinc- 
tion. Jerry Ryan was notable personage. Early recollections of some 
first comers narrated. Contrast of the years marked in the ownership 
of automobiles. Survey stake at K and Mariposa marks geographical 
center of State. 

CHAPTER LHI 

The Building Up of the City of Fresno 310 

Livery stables and saloon periods of village. Activities centered on 
coming of railroad. First locomotive crosses San Joaquin March 23, 
1872. Renewal of county seat removal agitation. First permanent im- 
provements. Appeal made to plant shade trees. 

CHAPTER LIV 

Irrigation and Trees Attract Bird Life 318 

Agitation on for railroad competition. School district is established 
Grain growing acreage extending. First Fourth of July celebration. 
Candidates to the fore for county seat. Fresno's dominant industry 
is bar room. 

CHAPTER LV 

The End of Pioneer Millerton 325 

Old county seat is left deserted. Bids are invited for new courthouse 
in Fresno. Big defalcation discovered in treasury. Anti-Chinese 
agitation. First brick building erected. Courthouse cornerstone lay- 
ing. First bank opened. 

CHAPTER LVI 

Progress of Fresno is Steady and Substantial 333 

First cemetery abandoned. Fire protection a much felt want. Central 
California colony. Granice Merced murder trial. Agitation for a 
church. Completion of courthouse. First Fresno-grown orange. 

CHAPTER LVII 

Six Years of Astonishing Changes LTp to Centennial Year 340 

County boundary line controversy. Irrigation problems. First wine 
making. Founding of town of Madera. Panic year among sheep men. 
Gold placer mine bubbles. Church is begun. Pioneer flouring mills. 

CHAPTER LVIII 

Townsite of Fresno an Unattractive Spot on Sagebrush Plain 348 

M, K. Harris gives mental picture of town in 1879. All business cen- 
tered about railroad station. Brick buildings numbered six. Coyotes 
howled at night. A glimpse into early politics. 

CHAPTER LIX 

Fresno a Handful of Houses in a Desert of Sand in 1881 355 

Metropolitan hall the graveyard of many traveling shows. O street 
was out of town. Nob Hill the residential quarter. Rabbits and squir- 
rels in the backyards. 

CHAPTER LX 

Fresno's Memorable Boom in 1887 358 

Many of the larger buildings erected. Outlying territorial additions 
made. Abnormal conditions of the day anticipated the later ruimg 
land valuations. Excursions run to bring moneyed land buyers. 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER LXI 

Public School Department of Fresno County 367 

One of the largest of the State. The Normal established a State In- 
terior Educational center. Public activities of the children. Statistics 
show growth of public schools. 

CHAPTER LXn 

A Dark Chapter of Crime in the County's History 374 

Murder of Major Savage. Murieta's career ended. Looting of Chinese 
Indians hanged. Vasquez and robber band. Killing of Fiske. Dr. F. 
O. Vincent hanged. Evans-Sontag reign of terror. Wooton mystery. 
Case of Helm boys. 

CHAPTER LXni 

Picturesque Narrative Revealed in Madera Murder Trial 395 

Case submitted to juries three times. Victim was a squaw man and 
pioneer of gold days. Tale of feud with Mono tribe of Indians. 

CHAPTER LXIV 

Effort to Divide County and Lop Off Coalinga Oil Field 399 

Initiated by Hanford for the enlargement of Kings County. Commis- 
sioners indicted for refusal to canvass vote cast at special election. 
Conspiracy defeated. Compromise follows with loss by Fresno of 
strip of land. 

Official Directory of Fresno County t 409 

Official Directory of the City of Fresno 415 

Obituary List 423 

County Tabloids 430 

City in Paragraphs 471 

Personal Recollections 512 

War Reminders 556 

Casualty List 600 



INDEX 



A 

Page. 

Abbott, Andrew 800 

Abbott, Frank Edgar 2303 

Abbott, Franklin 1415 

Adams, Grant A I9S5 

Adams, H. A 2199 

Adolfson, Erik 1745 

Adoor, Barsam 25S3 

Adoor, Paul 2549 

Aggers, Henry 2357 

Ahlberg, Gustav E 1545 

Aikin, John W", 1270 

Akers, LeRoy 2297 

Akers, Wm. Albertus 1842 

Akers Family 40 

Albrecht, A 2138 

Albright. Arthur N., D. D. S 1496 

Allen, Arthur VV 969 

Allen, Jesse Buell 1542 

Allen, Thomas J 2237 

Allen, William H 2369 

Amador, Benjamin 2052 

Andersen, Andreas H 2232 

Andersen, Mrs. Anna M 1794 

Andersen, Jes 2482 

Anderson, Arthur J 2113 

Anderson, Fred 1838 

Anderson, Garrett E 1190 

Anderson, Harvey G 2031 

Anderson, Nils A 2514 

Anderson, Otto 2346 

Andrews, S. M 906 

Annigoni, Menotti 2547 

Anthony, William James 1371 

Apperson, William L 260 

Appling, David F 1000 

Arbios, Peter L 2295 

Ardohain, Martin 2539 

Arieta, Arthur 2546 

Ariey, Marie 1082 

Armstrong, John A 1759 

Armstrong. John W 1823 

Armstrong, Robert FranKlin 1425 

Arnaudon, Alfred Joseph 1927 

Arnold, Edwin E 1892 

Arnst, Christian 2582 

Arostegny, Jean 2546 

Arrants, John G. S 732 

Arrants, Eeander J 1602 

Arrants, Mrs. Mary A 765 

Arriet, Angel 2484 

Arriet, Pedro 2465 

Ashton, John L 1634 

Asmusscn, Mathias 757 

Atkins, Oscar D 2381 

Atkisson, John Marshall 2419 

Augustine, Louis 1580 

Austin, John R 975 

Autsen, Hans 2493 

Avenell, Charles P 2465 

Axt, Rudolf 2591 

Azzaro, John 2541 



Babcock, A. Lorenzo 2164 

Baber, E. 1 2386 

Bachtold, Christian 818 

Backer, August H 1721 

Backer, Henry H 1121 

Bacon, Charles 2216 

Bacon, Oscar F 2362 

Badasci, Delmo B 2597 

Bader, Frederick 1555 

Bahrenfus, John 2436 

Bailey, Frank T 2361 

Baird, Alfred 1424 

Raird, Edson Emmet 1928 

Baird. Morgan 1048 

Baird, Mrs. Morgan 1053 

Baird, Robert 760 

Baker, A. A 2214 

Baker, James Edward 1949 

Baker, Ray W 1135 

Baker, R. C 1254 

Baker, Sands 1263 

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Haley, Gillum 124, 623 

Baley, John 1502 

Balfe, John Hilton 2522 

Ball, Frank Hamilton 236, 629 

Ballard, Edward L., D. C 2489 

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Barcus, William Milton 2398 

Bareford, Henry V 1171 

Barker, Mrs. Frances T 692 

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Barnum. Charles E 2355 

Barnum. Horace E 1321 

Barnwell. Robert W 1416 

Barr, George W 1124 

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Barrett. Charles W 2143 

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Barringer, Alexander Hamilton 1017 

Barstow, Richard Nason 702 

Battels, Edward F 1199 

Basey, Harry Clyde 1627 

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Blair, Jerome 1986 

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Cosgrave, George 1093 

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947 






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Eastin, Lester. H. 

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Elam. Taylor M 859 

Elder, Harland E 1589 

Elicechc, Mariano 2570 

Emerzian, Karl 2545 

Engelman, Henry J 2593 

Engelmann, Henry 2596 

Enlow, William Harrison 2239 

Ensher, K. E 2125 

Erickson, Carl 2201 

Erickson, Theodore E 2064 

Erro, Matias 915 

Errotabere, Andres 2497 

Erskine. James R 1218 

Eekesen, Karl Marinus 2594 

Etpitallier, Francois 2423 

Eversoll, William 2343 

Everts, Olen Lee 1391 

Ewing, A. D 857 

Ewing, David S 851 

F 

Fabris, Nick 2424 

Fallgren, Palmer A., D.D.S. 2037 

Faretta, Antonio 2589 

Farley, James Patrick 705 

Farlinger, James 1913 

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Farmers' Savings Bank of Selma 1558 

Farris, Richard 1 2250 

Fearon, Joseph 2173 

Feavcr, Cecil 2216 

Feaver, George. Sr 998 

Ferguson, Andy D 1085 

Ferguson, James G 1641 

Ferguson, James M 1072 

Ferguson, John C 1212 

Fett, David 1700 

Filian, Rev. George Harootune 2567 

Finch, James E 1451 

Finchcr, Levi Nelson 1098 

Fincher, James Patrick 1859 

Fincher. Vital Bangs 1817 

Fine, Alexander Campbell 958 

Fink, Mrs. Eliza 616 

First National Bank of Del Rey 804 

First National Bank of Fowler 1358 

First National Bank of Laton 1820 

First National Bank of Selma 1775 

Fisher, William S 2220 

Fleming, John M 742 

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Fleming, Russell H 741 

Flint, T. H 1678 

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Forbes, Charles Thomas 2158 

Foristiere, Antonio 2043 

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Fosberg, C. Edward 2351 

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Frikka, James G 1176 

Fritzler. Rev. F. Felician 827 

Froelich, Otto 252 

Frowsing. Andrew J 1466 

Fuchs. John Peter 1686 

Fugelsang, N. H 2428 

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Gammel, Elias 2599 

Gandrau, Augustine 2106 

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Carman, John Dunkel 1112 

Garrigan, William 2068 

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Gibbs, Albert Grant 1047 

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Gibson, F. C 2208 

Gilardoni, Philip 2595 

Gilbert. Nathan D 729 

Gilbertson, John H 2245 

Gillespie, J. A., M.D 2033 

Giraud, Marius and Harry 16/0 

Glass, William 719 

Glaves, William Michael 2167 

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Glougie, John R 885 

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Goehring, John G 1993 

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Greenup, William L U59 

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Griffin. Wade 2058 

Grimes, Wilbur Willis 2038 

Grounds, Ila T 2102 

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Guernsey, Geo. P 1866 

Guglielmoni, Charles 2599 

Guler, Stephen 1600 

Gunn, John and Emma L 909 

Gust, Peter 2081 

H 

Hagen, William C 1010 

Hagerty, Harry W 1320 

Hagopcan, Albert 2533 

Hain. I. R 2439 

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Halemeier, Henry Rudolph 2255 

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Haliburton, Clair E 2251 

Hall, Col. Josiah «789 

Hamilton, James 1979 

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Hamilton, iot 1581 

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Hamilton, W. T 2126 

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Hensley. George Washington 1073 

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Hoglund, Peter 2117 

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McLaughlin, Daniel C 2394 

McLaughlin, Jerome A 2284 

McLennan, H. M 1105 

McLeod, William D 1813 

McMurtry. M. S., M.D 1760 

McNab, Allan 1226 

McNeil, Alexander 1033 

McSwain, Walter S 997 

McVey, A. C 1522 

Mace, Capt. R. P 38 

Mackay. Donald 1854 

Mackay, James 1850 

Madsen, H 834 

Madsen, Karl 1709 

Madsen, Mads 2503 

Madsen, Mads Peter 24S1 

Madsen, Rasmus 1684 

Madsen, Robert K 1789 

Main, Eugene F 2162 

Malanca, Giovanni 2382 

Malter, George H 725 

Maneely, Alexander 1480 

Maneely, Mrs. Gertrude 1591 

Maneely, John 2340 

Manning, Elisha Arnold 726 

Marcel, Ilhero 2575 

Marriott, George Clyde 2303 

Marshall, Charles A 854 

Marshall, Edwin C 854 

Marshall. John B 1314 

Marshall, James McConnell 192S 

Martin, Henry F 1736 

Martin, Joseph 1796 

Martinto. Dominique 2576 

Maselli, G 2539 

Massey, R. W., V.S 2375 

Mathews, Roy P 2007 

Mathison, Peter 2338 

Mattel, Andrew 937 

Mattei, Andrew, Jr 1489 

Mathiesen, Rasmus 2155 

Matthews, G-eorge R 1 1 18 

Matthews, J. C 2399 

Matthews, Thomas Bettis 895 

Maxson, B. D 758 

Maxwell, James Nathan 1046 

Maxwell, John Franklin 2574 

Medley, Joseph 40 

Meisner, Henry 2586 

Mercy, John J. and Henry N 2530 

Merritt, Hiram P., M.D 932 



Page. 

Metcovich, Martin 2476 

Metzler, Adam 2587 

Metzler, August 2322 

Mikkelsen, E. M 1799 

Miles, Elbridge 1036 

Miles, Virgil S 2044 

Milla, Caesar 2385 

Miller, George W 1884 

Miller, Henry 254 

Miller, Henry C 2174 

Miller, Peter 2141 

Milnes, Alan D 1891 

Mitchell, Arthur Prentice 2424 

Mitchell, Jasper E 1322 

Mitchell, John L 1629 

Mitchell, Ralph F 1813 

Mitrovitch, Stephen N 1621 

Modine, Alfred 2075 

Moffitt. William Jordan 2334 

Moline, William 2406 

Moller, William 2056 

Molloy, Rev. Edw., C.S.S.R 2528 

Momson, Henry A 1499 

Moncrief, E. J 1784 

Monson, Hans 1575 

Montgomery, Cloyd Burton 2002 

Montgomery, Litchfield Y 869 

Moody, Thomas F 112 

Mooney, Stephen Francis 2208 

Moore, Prof. J. W 1490 

Moran, George P 1326 

Morgan, Harry C 1771 

Morgan, John D., Jr., M.D 2452 

Morgan, Peter M 1260 

Morrison, Isaac Dossey 1758 

Mortensen, Andrew... 2487 

Morrow, Jesse 126 

Mortensen, Morten 1968 

Morton, Charles H 2429 

Mosesian, Moses Paul 2061 

Mouren, Joseph 2457 

Mower, Eugene A 2137 

Mulligan ,Mrs. Margaret 1177 

Mullins, Thomas H 1895 

Munger, Warren Sanford 1561 

Murphy, John R 1513 

Murray, Clarence 1456 

Musick, Jasper Newton 35, 1045 

Mutchler, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H.... 1277 

Myer, Isaac 2005 

Myers, J. W 2008 

N 

Nares, Llewelyn Arthur 957 

Nash, Warren G 1187 

Neal, John 950 

Nederhouse, Z. D 2175 

Neikirk, B. F 1129 

Nelson, Albert 1970 

Nelson, Andrew 2537 

Nelson, Carl August 2344 

Nelson, Emil .- 1841 

Nelson, Fred 2515 

Nelson, Jonas Peter Alfred 1981 

Nelson, Peter Otto 1612 

Newman, Bernard A 1455 

Nelson, J. H 2280 

Nicklason, John August 2100 

Niditfer, James Murray 1569 

Nielsen, Anton 1748 

Nielsen, Hans A 1771 

Nielsen, Hans Jorgen 999 



Page. 

Nielsen, lener W 2558 

Nielsen, Niels Hansen 2552 

Nielsen, N. P 1388 

Nilmeier, Conrad 2458 

Nilmeier, Conrad H 2319 

Nilmeier, Conrad 2594 

Nilmeier, Henry P 2580 

Nilmeier, Phillip 1944 

Nieswanger, J. Franklin 1958 

Nishkian, Garabed M 2325 

Niswander, J. F 763 

Nolan, Frank J 1545 

Nord, E. M 1016 

Nord, Fritz E 1799 

Nordstrom, Rev. Magnus Anders 1493 

Norman, Horace E 1795 

Norman, J. L 1898 

North, Benjamin 1835 

Northrup, Ellsworth M 1550 

Norton, H. E 1378 

Nutting, W. R 1997 

o 

O'Neal, Edward. 1 2382 

Oed, John 2387 

Olinger, W. L 1837 

Oliver, Mrs. Mary 1938 

Oliver, Orie Odell 1699 

Olmstead, Charles H 2376 

Olsen, Gustav 2554 

Olsen, Lorenz 2586 

Olsen, O. A 2520 

Olson. Abram 2029 

Olson. Albert Julius 1124 

Olson, Gus 1904 

Olson, Peter 1238 

Olufs, Oluf Bernard 711 

Orr, Wiilliam 2495 

Oslund, John 1962 

Ostendorf, Mrs. Johanna 673 

Otis, George Buell 783 

Oussani, Joseph 2129 

Owen, Richard Thomas 706 

P 

Packard, Oren Fred 1187 

Page, John 1520 

Parret, August 2568 

Paulsen, Soren 2451 

Payne, L. Roy 2527 

Peak, John H 1067 

Pearce, Martin W 2169 

Pearson, Emil 1122 

Pearson, Olof 2516 

Pedersen, Axel 2120 

Pedersen, Peder S 2118 

Pellissier, Hippolyt 2580 

Perez, Rudolph J 2027 

Perrin, Robert 259 

Perry, James Abner 2427 

Peters, A. B 2022 

Petersen, Mrs. Christine A 1802 

Petersen, Dagmar, M.D 2255 

Petersen, John T 2190 

Petersen, Louis 827 

Petersen, Nicolai 2531 

Petersen, Niels 1528 

Petersen, Peter M 2512 

Petersen, Thomas J 2055 

Peterson Carl Gustaf 1272 

Peterson, C. V 1381 



Page. 

Peterson. E. Ed 2052 

Peterson, Joseph A. T 1739 

Peterson, Oscar E 2124 

Pettit, Hon. Melvin 1335 

Pfister, John Rudolf 1933 

Pfost, G. W 2040 

Phelan, James C 1307 

Phelps, Z. L 1868 

Phillips, Charles C 1582 

Phillips, Charles E., D. D. S 1479 

Phillips. Mrs. Elizabeth 694 

Phillips. Perry Commodore 694 

Pierce, Charles S 645 

Pierse, Rev. Patrick 2373 

Pilegard, Christen A 2263 

Pilegard. Mrs. Carrie 2268 

Pilegard, Peter A 2403 

Pimentel. John 1 2518 

Pinninger. Frederic William 1200 

Plate. Willard F 2193 

Piatt. Sidney L 1512 

Phinneke. Charles 1140 

Polito, S. L 1593 

Pomeroy. F. K.. M.D 2033 

Porta, Emanuel 2602 

Porter, Evan Doyle 1776 

Porter, George E., D.C 1496 

Possons, William J 1788 

Potter, Joseph Webster 1508 

Potter, M. R 1636 

Poulsen. Morten 2525 

Potter. Zane 1437 

Powers. Aaron Hubbard 1412 

Powers. Lucius 1412 

Poytress, J. A 2544 

Prandini, Joe 2592 

Prather, Joseph L 2370 

Prather, Robert R 1536 

Pretzer, Henry, Sr 1769 

Pretzer, Henry, Jr 2195 

Preuss, Charles 1225 

Price. Oscar E 1777 

Price, R. L 1741 

Proodian. H 2210 

Puccinelli. Louis 2600 

Puckhaber. Charles R 2291 

Pugh Brothers 1692 

Pugh. John M 630 

Pugh. John Sallee 1633 

Pugh, Sarah Frances, D.0 1435 

Q 

Quails, John M 1372 

Quick. Herbert B 2188 

Quist, A. J 2433 

R 

Ramacher, Henry 1097 

Ramacher, Leonard D 1165 

Ramacher, Leroy 1850 

Randrup, George 2405 

Randrup, James B 2389 

Rasmussen, Axel H 1662 

Rafhgeber, Philipp 2374 

Rathmann, Theodore 2602 

Rauscher, Henry 1490 

Rawson. Mrs. Eva H 1314 

Rebensdorf , Fred 2524 

Reese, Edgar Orlando 2090 

Reese, Thomas J 2542 

Reborn, Frank 15S1 



Page. 

Rennie, William 831 

Retallick, Richard G 2083 

Reyburn, Clarence James 777 

Reyburn, James John 685 

Reyburn. Joseph Davidson 731 

Reyburn, Leslie Devoe 929 

Rhea, Robert W 1127 

Rhodes, Stephen Walton 2189 

Rice, Rozell W 2399 

Richardson, Charles Henry 2278 

Richardson, Thomas E 1819 

Richmond. Emmett G 1360 

Richmond. William Sherman 2279 

Riggins, Emmett 1400 

Riggs, Don Pardee 1062 

Ring, Theodore J 1662 

Risley. E. W 1669 

Roberts. \'ictor 2307 

Robertson. James MacGregor 1715 

Robinson. J. H., M.D 1830 

Robinson. Raymond D 2232 

Robinson. Winfield Scott 1055 

Rodrigues, Frank V 2196 

Roeding. Frederick C 256 

Roessler. Fred M 2523 

Rogers, E. B 1086 

Rogers. James J 42 

Rohr, H. G 2462 

Romain. Frank M 963 

Rorden. John C 1567 

Roscelli. Charles 2561 

Rose. Anthony G 2391 

Rose. Dale 2276 

Rosendahl. Frank D 1232 

Rosenthal. Jacob 2234 

Ross, James 1147 

Rougny, Albert 2579 

Rougny, Eugene 25 56 

Roullard. Fred P 1740 

Rowell, Albert Abbott 641 

Rowell. Dr. Chester 237 

Rowell. Chester Harvey 942 

Rowell. William Franklin 884 

Ruble. John W 2309 

Rucker. Aliss Maggie P 910 

Rudolf. Adam 2589 

Rudolph. Henry. Jr 2551 

Rusconi. Louis 2175 

Rusconi, Peter 2507 

Russell. Capt. Ezra M 700 

Russell. Mr. and Mrs. H. W 2336 

Rusten. O. C 1902 

Ruth. William 1170 

Ryan. Jerry 303 

Ryan, William H 302, 718 

s 

Sabroe. Carl 1987 

Sagniere, Joseph 1211 

Sahargun, Jean 2562 

Sallaberry, Brothers 2578 

Samelson, Samuel 970 

Sample. Cowan A 1535 

Sample. David Cowan 651 

Sample, Samuel C 1891 

Sandberg. David 1946 

Sandeson, Charles N 2444 

Sanford. Louis Childs, Rt. Rev. D.D. . 805 

Santen. Henry 1258 

Sassano. Aniello 2580 



Page. 

Say, Grant D. G 993 

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Say, Mrs. Laura J 1081 

Say, Lyle H 1382 

Say, William Henry 1079 

Scales. William L 1451 

Scharer, Charles 923 

Scheitlt, Fred 2067 

Scheldt, George 2576 

Scheldt, Henry 2563 

Scheldt, J. Henry 2157 

Schell, Mrs. Louisa Dumont 968 

Schlotthauer, J, A 2316 

Schmall, John Peter 2118 

Schmidt, John A 2489 

Schmitz, Ernest 2591 

Schneider, Conrad 2575 

Schcneider, Henry 2548 

Scholler, Louis 2386 

Schuknecht, Theodore H 2500 

Schultz, Barney 1919 

Schultz; Mrs. Mary 2012 

Schwabenland, Alexander P 2601 

Schwlnn, George 1534 

Sciacqua, Leopoldo 2560 

Scoggins, John Lee 1733 

Scott, David 1727 

Scott, Jay .... J 707 

Scott, Hon. L. D 2443 

Scott, Phil 898 

Scott. Ralph H 2002 

Scott, Robert 1555 

Seacord, David 2367 

Self, J. A 1843 

Selma Irrigator (The) 1783 

Selma National Bank 1558 

Selma Savings Bank 1775 

Sempe, Charles 2403 

Semper, Natalio 2337 

Sequeira, Antone George 2468 

Sequeira, Louis George 1844 

Serian, Harry S 2498 

Serimian, A. S . 2598 

Serrano, Florencio 2429 

Serrano Matias 2505 

Sessions, Capt. Herbert A 1529 

Setchel, W. Flanders 2314 

Setty. Rev. Sanford E 1890 

Seubert, Rev. George P 1628 

Shafer. John IS62 

Shafer, W. H 1574 

Shannon, Albert Sidney Johnston 1336 

Shannon, Jeflferson M 1436 

Shannon, L. S 1347 

Shannon. Scott A 2291 

Sharer, John William 797 

Sharer, Marques Monroe 766 

Sharp, Ivy Watson 1616 

Shaver, Charles B 1305 

Shaw, A. CliflFord 1592 

Shell Company of California 2283 

Shimmins, Mrs. Myra 84S 

Shipp, George R 1417 

Shipp, John M 2289 

Shishmanian, G. N 2538 

Short, Frank H 615 

Short, John W 686 

Shuey, John W 780 

Sides, Major M 813 

Siering, Herman F 1029 

Silva, Frank 922 

Silveira, Joseph J 2585 

Sime, Alexander 2274 



Page. 

Simerly, Clarence G 2219 

Simerly, John B 2215 

Simpson, Albert P 1456 

Simpson, James William 1501 

Simpson, John Greenup, Sr 2008 

Simpson, Thomas Jackson 1836 

Sims, Benjamin L 2425 

Sims, James William 1630 

Sinclair, John G. C 1283 

Sininger, William H 2057 

Skoonburg, J. L 1184 

Slater, Edward Earl 1396 

Smclley, Christopher 2070 

Smith, Chris H 1240 

Smith, Edwin Herbert 1319 

Smith, Flora W., M.D 1213 

Smith, George E 2017 

Smith, George W 747 

Smith, James W 976 

Smith, John E 2429 

Smith, John W 1747 

Smith, Lewis Howell 1549 

Smith, Thomas D., M.D 1717 

Smith, Thomas P 1207 

Smoot, Guy Thomas 2392 

Snow, Alva E 852 

Snyder, C. Ross 1650 

Snyder, George 2435 

Snyder, George H 2233 

Soderberg, Andrew 2566 

Soper, Mrs. Sadie Elizabeth 1829 

Sorensen, Christian 2500 

Sorensen, Hans William, D.D.S 1690 

Souza, Ed. J 1818 

South, N. Lindsay 2016 

Spear, E. R 2275 

Spence, David A 1703 

Spence, Harry Edward 2024 

Spence, John Young 2070 

Spencer, Wright H 1896 

Spires, H. E 2412 

Spomer, Rev. August 2395 

Staley, William S 1365 

Stammers, Clarence L.. M.D 2286 

Stange, Hugo S 1528 

Stange, Paul T 2391 

Stanton, M. E 1326 

Statham, Bert A 2285 

Staub, Arnold Humboldt 1897 

Stay, Andrew H 1922 

Stay, Ole H 2375 

Steitz, H. P.. Jr 2270 

Steitz, John August 2111 

Stephens, Lewis 846 

Steward, George Wallace 1664 

Steward, Nehemiah W 1564 

Stieglitz, Michael 2183 

St. John, Enos Frost 652 

Stockton, Guy 1339 

Stone, Charles J 1903 

Stone, W. T 1690 

Stowell, Henry Oakley 2213 

Strader, William Franklin 1364 

Stranahan, John H 2213 

Stratton, John J. 2028 

Stricklin, James Henry 2030 

Strid, Charles 1237 

Stump, Allen Everett 1580 

Sturtevant, Andrew Judson, Jr 1536 

Suglian, John 1465 

Sulprizio, Deuta 2524 

Sunderland, Al E 1145 

Sutherland, William 708 



Page. 

Swanson, John August 2598 

Swanson, Nels 2057 

Sward, Axel W 1285 

Sweeney, Albert H.imk-t. MI) 1141 

Sweezey, E. R i332 

Swift, Harvey W 659 

Swift, Lewis P , 740 

Swift, Reuben James 2156 

Swigart, Edward Cooper 1680 

Swiss Supply Company 2597 

T 

Taft, r.eorge W 618 

Taft, Mrs. Emma M 618 

Tangney, P. D 2195 

Taylor, Alexander 754 

Taylor, George H 1452 

Taylor, Marion H 2156 

Teague, Charles 828 

Teilman, Ingvart 692 

Telin, C 982 

Thiede, Rev. K. A. Herman 1219 

Thomas, Benjamin Cassius 1042 

Thome, Eugene P 2508 

Thompson, A. E. 1627 

Thompson, Georgia Emily. M.D 2389 

Thompson, James Wallace 2358 

Thompson, William P 65S 

Thomsen, Jens Christian 1 160 

Thomsen, Mathias 1706 

Thornton, Philip Burt 2570 

Thorwaldson, Horace 1514 

Thurman, William C 1656 

Tobiasen, Bendiks 1770 

Toccalini, Jack 2517 

Todd, Clayton Wesley 2149 

Tomasetti, Eugene 2595 

Toreson, August 2490 

Traber, Charles H., M.D 1594 

Traber. Prof. John W 739 

Trahing, Charles Willard 1239 

Tranberg. James J 2132 

Traweek, Cecil Calvert 1661 

Trout, William Arthur 1814 

Trucchi, Annibale 2564 

Tuck Brothers 2148 

Tucker, F 2321 

Tucker. Steve 2344 

Tufcnkjian. Sarkis, M.D 1056 

Tupper. Henry Clay 626 

Turner, George A 2412 

Turner. William 2093 

Tuttle, George M 2074 

Tuttle, John E 2037 

Twining, Frederick E 1449 

U 

Uhd, Hans A 1142 

Uhler, Russell 1470 

Underwood, Olin C 1711 

Urrutia, Juan Miguel 2258 

V 

Vanderburgh, John Jay 1172 

Vandor, Paul E 1311 

Van Meter, Edgar Snowden 1112 

Van Ness, William H 1004 

Van Ronk, Lewis E 2333 

Venard, William F 1423 

Venter, Otto 2076 



Page. 

Verble, H. E..... 2368 

Verwoert, Mrs. Alfreda 2082 

\'ignola, Angelo 1668 

Vignola, Guy R 1668 

A-illanueva, Miguel 2490 

Vincent, Manuel 1710 

Voenes, George J 2547 

Vogel, Frederick Karl 2395 

Vogel, Herbert E 778 

Vogel, Jacob 778 

Vogelsang, Edward D 1099 

Voice, Charles E 2409 

Voorhees, Truman L 2315 

Votaw, A. S 2379 

\'nught, Lawrence 865 

w 

Wagner, Fred 2593 

Wahl, Mrs. Louis 2379 

W.il.lberg, Arthur G 1691 

Walder, William U 2319 

Walker, James N 40 

Wall. Elmer Thomas 1783 

Wallace, Duncan, A. B., B. D., A. M. . 866 

Wallace. Miles 975 

Wallers. John 2493 

Walley, Granville Hartman 1442 

Walsh, John J 1847 

Walter, Charles Lewis 2571 

Walter, John W. 1926 

Walton, John T 1194 

Waltz. S. W 1607 

Ward, H. L 1820 

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Ward, W. W 2131 

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Warner, Anna S 1074 

Warner. Beldin 1074 

Warner. Percy N 1847 

W.-itkins, John W 1551 

Weaver. Willis D 974 

Webb. Arthur E 1404 

Webb, Hon. James Ransom 2445 

Weber, Henry, Jr 2049 

Webster, John 1698 

Wehrmann, Fritz 1012 

Weitz. George H 1015 

Wekh. W. A 1212 

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Wells, Absalom 1141 

W«lls, Charles 1369 

Wells, Charles Prather 2296 

Wells, Earl J 2413 

Wells, Francis Asbury 1220 

Wells, Hon. F. E 962 

Wertz, William 1326 

White. T. C 1430 

Whiteside, Olney 1330 

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Wirkliffe, William P 1772 

Wiesbrod, G 2541 

V\iggenbauser, Joseph 2111 

Wildermuth, H 2506 

Wilkins, James P 2405 

Wilkins, Reuben Franklin 2416 

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Winblad, Sig 1964 

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Wishon, A. & 1306 

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Witten, Kinza P 2161 

Wolf, Peter J 2440 

Wolfe, G. A 2030 

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Wolter, Rev. Carl W 1117 

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Woodall, Eli 2112 

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Y 

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Youngquist, Mr. and Mrs. John A 2297 II 

Yraceburu, Joe 2273 II 

Yraceburu, Jose M 2563 II 

Yzurdiaga, Firmin 2588 II 

z 

Zandueta, Jose 2542 II 

Zanolini, Silvio 2321 II 

Zediker, David S 1889 II 

Zimmer, William T 1200 I 

Zinn, Thomas H 1429 II 

Zwang, Jacob 2196 II 



HISTORICAL 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

By Paul E. Vandor 

CHAPTER I 

California a Land of Wonders and Surprises. Fresno County 
AN Empire Within an Empire. Area of the Two Divisions. 
State is Not a Unit Geographically. Assessed Property 
Valuations. The Valley is the Keystone in the Arch of 
THE State's Wealth. Interior Region Little Affected 
BY the Spanish and Mexican Regime Save in the 
Nomenclature of Landmarks. 

California is a land of never ending wonders and surprises, a land that 
can only be described in superlatives. 

Literally and figuratively, Fresno County is to the state an empire within 
an empire — imperium in imperio as the Latin phrase has it. This statement 
is not put forth as the declaration of a newly discovered fact, but to empha- 
size that an old one is incontrovertible as the result of a remarkable twin 
development of state and county. 

California, thirty-first state of the union, is about 780 miles long, has a 
breadth varying from 148 to 235 miles, a sea-coast line 1,200 miles long through 
ten degrees of latitude, a total area of 158,297 square miles of which 2,645 
comprise water surface, and an estimated 101,310,080 acres, in great part 
rough, mountainous country, or desert. The term desert is a relative one. 
The land now comprised within Fresno County's area was long considered 
desert, fit only for pasturage and worthless for agriculture. Aluch of it is 
yet regarded in that category, lacking the water to make it productive. 
Imperial Valley in the county of the same name, the southeasternmost in the 
state located between San Diego County and the Colorado river as the state 
boundary line is another notable desert wonder in the agricultural line. Other 
instances might be quoted to emphasize the declaration that California is a 
land of never ending wonders and surprises. 

Approximately one-half of the land surface is under federal control, 
including the nineteen and one-half millions or more acres in the national 
forests. As to area, California is second among the states of the union. 
Texas alone exceeds it. It is larger than the nine combined states of New 
York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New 
Hampshire, Connecticut and Ohio. It is one of the richest among the states, 
with a startling record of material achievements and with potentialities so 
varied and great as to stagger the mind in the contemplation of them. 

Fresno, forty-first of the counties in the order of creation, has a land area 
of 5,950 square miles, or 3,808.000 acres, ^^'hen organized, it was much larger, 
but in March, 1893. a slice of 2,121 square miles was taken ofif from the 
northern part to form Madera County, and in 1909 were transferred to Kings 
County 120 square miles of the southeastern portion. Even with these 2,241 
squarp miles lopped off from the original 8,214 before partition, Fresno ranks 



32 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

sixth of the fifty-eight counties in the state as to area. Only five exceed it, 
namely, Inyo, Kern, Riverside and Siskyou, San Bernardino leading. As to 
population, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alameda and Santa Clara lead it in 
the order named. The 1910 census returned a county population of 75,657, and 
for the county seat, 24,892. An estimate of 29,809 for the city was made in 
July, 1914, and one of 45,000 in June, 1914. The latter is according to the 
1916 report of the state controller, but manifestly too liberal for various 
reasons. Estimates made on the figured basis of school attendance, directory 
publishers and chamber of commerce advertising literature all give greater 
returns but must be accepted with allowances. It is not to be denied that 
there have been large annual accessions in the rural and urban populations, 
but a census enumeration and not theoretical surmises will be required to 
give reliable figures. 

The county is fourth, with Sacramento a very close fifth, for total value 
of assessed property. Fresno is one of the very few counties in the state that 
had no public indebtedness. An estimate of the value of the county's public 
property is the following: 

Courthouse Grounds and Jail $1,207,000 

Hospital, Almhouse and Grounds 318,000 

Fair Grounds and Buildings 100,000 

Orphanage ". 30,000 

County Library Equipment 10,000 

Total $1,665,000 

The county had no outstanding bonds and no floating indebtedness. It 
has $150,000 invested in state highway bonds, $300,000 in Liberty war bonds, 
$19,490 in county school district bonds that buying speculators would not 
purchase because of the smallness of the issues, and in December, 1917, had 
$.590,200 of accumulated funds out on two per cent call loans, a sum that 
fluctuates from time to time. The statistical figures of the assessor give the 
county an acreage of 2.251,520. 

ASSESSED PROPERTY VALUATIONS 

Assessed value of property for 1*^16-17 in the state, county and city of 
Fresno is exhibited in the following tabulation: 

State 

Real Estate $1,851,485,421 

Improvements 696,960,698 

Personal Propertv 333,403,268 

Money and Credits 35,005,709 

Non Operative Roll 2,916,855,096 

Operative Roll 504.284,748 

Railroads 157,006,590 

State Grand Total : $3,578,146,434 

Fresno County 

Real Estate $41,644,875 

Improvements 1 1 ,421 ,988 

Personal Property 9,892,398 

Money etc 110,547 

Total $63,069,808 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 33 

Fresno City 

Real Estate $11,596,555 

Improvements 7.764,385 

Personal Property 3,039,137 

Money, etc 179,585 

Total , $22,579,712 

Non Operative Roll 85,649,520 

Operative Roll 13,980,567 

County Grand Total $99,630,087 

The 1917-18 county assessment roll shows the following valuations for 
taxation purposes, not including the segregated school district valuations 
for one of the numerically largest county school departments in the state, 
exclusive of the larger populous centers of San Francisco, Los Angeles and 
Alameda counties. 

County Real Estate $ 56,792,585 

(Fresno City, $15,931,470) 

Improvements 20.075,245 

(Fresno City, $10,933,700) 

Improvements Assessed to Others than Owners 123,720 

Personal Property 15,923,163 

Money and Credits 427,310 

Non Operative Roll 93,342,023 

Operative Roll 6,044.386 

Railroads 8,515,019 

Total Assessed Property $107,901,428 

Fresno City as the county seat is the largest incorporated municipality. 
The other eight incorporated towns are; Clovis, Coalinga, Firebaugh, Fowler, 
Kingsburg, Reedley, Sanger and Selma. 

The county's apportionment by the State Board of Equalization of rail- 
road mileage and property for state taxation is as follows: 

Railroad Mileage Valuation 

Southern Pacific 196.89 $5,394,978 

Santa Fe 96.30 2.311.200 

Central Pacific 31.46 692.208 

Pullman Palace 166.61 116,633 

KEYSTONE IN ARCH OF WEALTH 

Geographically considered, California is far from being a unit. It presents 
with its immense sea-coast stretch and its great breadth, traversing interior 
wide valleys, desert wastes and high mountain ranges, geographical conditions 
in remarkable variety. When in their variety in turn, the land surface fea- 
tures, climates and productions, the latter ranging from those of the temper- 
ate to the subtropical and the arctic zones, are further borne in mind. 
California may well be classified as an empire itself. 

California's great interior San Joaquin Valley, an empire in itself, is the 
keystone in the arch of the state's wealth. The Mother Lode poured its mil- 
lions of gold into the world's lap. Its plains were the public range during the 
cattle raising era of the boundless pasturage ground. It was once one of the 
world's granaries in the days of the vast grain ranch period. It is a leader 
today in the products of the intensive and diversified culture of the small irri- 
gated orchard and vineyard farm. The oil industry confined to the Coast 
Range is an overshadowing one, and the San Joaquin valley has become the 



34 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

state's oil producing region. Irrigation has transformed Fresno from a desert 
to an annual producer of over thirty millions. 

Its potentialities are boundless almost. It is no dream that in the cultiva- 
tion of rice and cotton as the latest taken up enterprises of the soil with 
demonstrated successes in the experimental efforts, California and its great 
interior valley are preparing to furnish the world with more surprises. Such 
an eminent authority as George C. Roeding has declared that Fresno must 
wake up and teach the world that "here in the central portion of the Golden 
State there is an empire worthy the attention of the man with the dollar." 
And there is a wonderful past to substantiate him. 

The history of Fresno, and for that matter of the great interior valley 
also, was little influenced by the Spaniards or the Mexicans in so far as leav- 
ing imperishable impress upon the region that the gold seekers brought to 
the world's knowledge. There was no Spanish sub-stratum with the pictured 
life and customs as at the coastal mission establishments, so suggestive of 
medievalism and even feudalism, to give the quaint and picturesque setting 
for the American superstructure to follow and to recall the days before the 
Gringo came. 

Of the Spanish and Mexican rule there is no lasting memorial, save 
perhaps in the melodious nomenclature of landmarks, and in the foreign words 
grafted on the English language. The name "Fresno," from the Spanish 
meaning "ash tree." was applied because of the abundance of the tree in 
the mountains of the county. It was first given to identify the river tributary 
to the San Joaquin and once embraced within the county, but now in Madera. 
It was so applied before Fresno County was organized, and even before the 
territory now so named had distinctive appellation as a part of Mariposa 
County. It was so appropriated to name the first big trees discovered bv 
James Burney of Mariposa and John Macauley of Defiance, Ohio, in 1849. 
They were in Fresno territory that is now part of Madera County. Burney 
was of North Carolina and the first sheriff of Mariposa, elected after organiza- 
tion in February, 1850. The above named and two others made the find in 
the latter part of October on the Fresno-San Joaquin divide while pursuing 
animals that the Indians had stolen. This was at a time when Mariposa em- 
braced, as one of the original twenty-seven counties of the state, nearly the 
entire San Joaquin Valley, south of the Tuolumne River. 



CHAPTER II 

Changes Brought About by the Mutation of Time. Linking 
THE Present Living With the Remote Dead Past. The 
Days of the Squawman. Surviving Pioneers Antedating 
Days Before County Organization. A Frequently Chang- 
ing and Ever Shrinking Roster. Casual Mention of Some 
OF the Listed Picturesque Characters That Have Passed 
Away. Pioneers of the Mining Period of the Decade of 
THE '50's. 

As a political entity, Fresno's history runs back to 1856. Prior to that 
and territorially long before that, it was unpeopled during the period that 
Bret Harte has so poetically described as "that bland, indolent autumn of 
Spanish rule, so soon to be followed by the wintry storms of Mexican indepen- 
dence." It was the undisputed domain of the Indian — the Digger as he was 
called, because he digged the ground for edible roots, bulbs and insect larvae. 

It was indefinitely located as the remote and farthermost outpost of "that 
section of the mining region known as the Southern Mines" after carving 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 35 

out from Mariposa and with it claiming Utah Territory as easternmost bound- 
ary. The Mother of Counties embraced ahiiost everything in the easternmost 
interior between the Coast and Sierra ranges from Tuolumne on the north to 
San Luis Obispo on the south, with its celebrated central Fremont Grant 
concerning which alone a book might be written, its four great central gold 
abounding sections and quartz veins throughout the county, Mariposa as one 
of the original organized with formation of the state in 1850, was so rich in 
mining wealth that it was estimated as formed in 1856 that over 500 mills 
could be supplied with rock paying from sixteen dollars to twenty dollars 
per ton. 

As to Fresno, years elapsed before "the reviving spirit of American con- 
quest," gripped the land. With successive industrial evolutions, the trans- 
formation has been short of the marvelous. From the early primitive mining 
camps in canyons and gulches or along river banks, the transition from an 
inland cow county has been to a vast agricultural domain, the future seat of 
fullest activities in that line of a great commonwealth, and the upbuilding of 
an interior community that every prophecy holds out as destined to become 
one of the largest, most populous, inifuential and richest. It is well on its 
way to reach that goal. 

Jonathan Swift, the greatest satirist of his age, philosophises through one 
of his characters that "he gave it as his opinion that whoever could make 
two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground 
where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more 
essential service to his country, than the whole race of philosophers put 
together." ^^'hat then of the pioneers who on the barren nothingness of 
1856 laid the basis of what is the wonderful Fresno county of 1919? 

The changes that the mutations of time have wrought in the span of 
sixty-two years are not appreciated until they are brought to a realization 
by some homely yet startling illustration. The reader may measurably con- 
ceive the changes when contemplating the concrete fact that there are less 
than a dozen known living persons that have risen out of all obscurity in 
the growth of the county, or who, having removed from California, trace 
has been lost of them, and who were residents of the territory before and 
at the period of the county's organization in the year 1856. 

ROSTER OF LIVING EARLIEST PIONEERS 

The following roster of surviving pioneers of pioneers was first compiled 
nearly two years ago. It has undergone five revisions to leave today in 
January, 1919, the submitted names, for be it borne in mind that the adult 
pioneer in the territory in 1856, or before county organization, must have 
been at twenty-one majority or close thereto, and with the sixty-two years 
added since, would need be, if surviving today, at an advanced age in the 80's. 
The living are believed to be the following named according to best research : 

Henry F. Akers, of near Sanger ; William Albertus Akers, of near Coal- 
inga ; Mrs. Sarah Akers-Chambers, of San Benito ; Mrs. Mary Agnes Burns, 
of near Sanger; Mrs. C. P. Converse that was Mrs. Stephen Caster, whose 
home is in Ishom Valley, Tulare County; Mrs. Lewis Leach, who was the 
first Mrs. C. P. Converse, and is a resident of Fresno City ; Mrs. Mary Mc- 
Kenzie-Hoxie, born at Millerton in 1855 ; Hiram IMcDonald, who was chief of 
police of 5-Point Precinct, Phoenix, Ariz, at last accounts. The last two were 
in the county as juveniles at organization date. 



Jasper N. Musick 1.1.54033 



Jasper N. Musick headed the above list for more than a year and a half 
as perhaps the widest known of the early pioneers, though the Akers family 
preceded him in the territory by some three years. Death removed Musick at 



36 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the age of eighty-five years on June 4, 1918, and two days later his remains 
were laid away in the little rural cemetery at Academy, where sleepeth so 
many of the pioneer men and women of the county. 

Familiarly known as "Uncle Jess" because of his lovable character, 
Jasper N. Musick had experienced all the vicissitudes of early day pioneering, 
and as a boy the family located at what is now Jefiferson City, Mo., at a period 
when St. Louis was on the map as a trading post. He was the sixth of fifteen 
children. A brother, Jeremiah, for whom a Fresno residence addition was 
named (he died in 1904) came to California after the war and engaged in 
stock raising. 

Jasper and a brother crossed the plains, arriving in the fall of 1850. They 
made the journey to Salt Lake City with ox teams, but traded for horses as 
,a swifter means of progress. Arriving at Hangtown (Placerville, Cal.), they 
were surprised to behold the traded oS oxen that had previously arrived and 
in a much better condition than the horses. For six years, Musick mined 
in Amador County with reasonable success, in 1856 settled in Mariposa 
County, engaged incidentally in Indian warfare and participated in the skirm- 
ish on Tule River which quelled the outbreak. Settling at Millerton, he 
teamed to and from Stockton and the mines, hauling provisions to the latter 
for five cents a pound with ten days required on the round trip. In 1858 he 
moved the Fort Miller soldiers to Benicia Barracks on evacuation. 

Later he located on Dry Creek in the- stock business with J. G. Simpson, 
conducting a Millerton meat shop, and each spring drove a band of cattle to 
Sonora and other mining centers at profit. This partnership continued until 
1865, when he took up the sheep business with ranch at Letcher. There he 
also pioneered in orange and deciduous fruit growing. His residence in 
Fresno city dated from 1892, and here in comparative affluence he lived a 
retired life after the whirl and excitement of his younger years. By a first 
marriage at Dry Creek with a native born of Millerton. Rebecca, daughter of 
James Richards, a pioneer settler, five children were born, three of whom 
attained majority. The second marriage in December, 1878, was at Lemoore 
to Nancy J. Messersmith, whose family came from Cole County, ]\Io., after 
the war. 

Mr. Musick was for two terms a county supervisoh and chairman of the 
board for a time. It was during his incumbency that the county-seat removal 
was efifected, a change that he had championed. While a Dry Creeker, he was 
in 1872 one of the incorporators and organizers and the treasurer of the Dry 
Creek Academy with ex-SherifT J. D. Colhns as the first teacher, a school of 
acknowledged repute. Later, building and grounds were deeded to the school 
district of which Mr. Musick was a trustee for years, and school has never 
closed doors to its original purpose. In his younger days Mr. Musick was a 
leader of the Democracy. 

As an evidence of the remarkable faculty that some men are endowed 
with in the recollection of dates, is cited the incident that on the day of the 
funeral, June 6. 1918. John C. Hoxie. the late pioneer, recalled on his way to 
the obsequies to attend them as a pall bearer, that the day of his friend's death 
lacked only fortv-eight hours of the day. June 2. 1856. of his first meeting, as a 
small boy with Jasper N. IMusick at old Millerton. Two days after the 
funeral was also the incident of the recording of a government land patent to 
Musick under date of August 30, 1877, and apparently long forgotten. 

Joseph Bums 

At the age of eighty-eight years and three months on December 13, 1918, 
Joseph Burns died after an illness of five months at his home near Sanger. 
He was one of the last of the Old Guard, his coming antedating county organ- 
ization in 1856. He had followed agricultural and pastoral pursuits nearly all 
his life in California, amassing a competency which permitted him to aid in 
the development of the county in humble fashion. He was a good citizen, 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 37 

never in public life, never sought political preferment but remained content 
to follow the unobtrusive career of a farmer, drifting along with the time and 
the tide, his circumstances benefitted by the natural advancement and enrich- 
ment of the region in which he had chosen to cast his lot, undisturbed by the 
hurly-burly of changing epochs and living more in the historic dead past than 
the bustling, restless present. 

Joseph Burns was a South Carolinian born, but as an infant removed 
with parents to Sparta, Randolph county, 111. In early manhood and allured 
by the gold excitement, he came to California in 1852 ; according to another 
report in 1854. At any rate he settled in Alariposa county and was a resident 
of that county even after Fresno was carved out of that vast mining domain. 
There is little to be told of his early experiences, though after removal to 
Fresno after county organization it is recalled that like many others he was 
adopted according to a prevailing practice of the times into tribal relations 
through the daughter of an Indian chief with a place in history. Cowchiti, 
as he was known, had to do with the preliminaries of the treaty of peace 
signed up at Fort Barbour, April 29, 1851, with the rebellious tribes of the 
valley following surrender to the Mariposa Battalion under Maj. James D. 
Savage and with the last act in the drama — the bringing in of tlu- ca]Ui\e and 
starved out Yosemites from the fastnesses of the valley. Chief Cowchiti was 
the scout and interpreter that guided Capt. Boling's company to and from 
the valley in the pursuit, being the first \-isit by white men in number to enter 
and explore the scenic gorge and make its fame known. Cowchiti was looked 
upon by the soldiery not altogether without suspicion and doubt as to his 
motives and purposes, but proved faithful to his trust. 

Burns settled on Willow creek, a tributary of Coarse Gold Creek, in 
Madera county now, setting out there what is said to have been the first 
peach orchard in this region. In 1862 he married Mary Agnes Lewis, whose 
father was a herb doctor at a time when graduate practitioners were few. In 
the year 1869, Burns pulled up stakes and moved to Centerville in the Kings 
river district and engaged in stock and sheep raising and farming, and also 
planted one of the first orange groves in that pioneer citrus belt. He and 
others were associated in the co-operative Sweem ditch enterprise. It was on 
any scale the first practical irrigation demonstration in the county and with 
its inclusion in the Church irrigation plan metamorphosed the parched grazing 
land of the plains into vineyards, orchards and farms. 

The published Burns obituary recorded several glaring inaccuracies. The 
death was heralded as that of the oldest citizen and pioneer. This was mani- 
festly incorrect. It was declared as "an outstanding circumstance" of his re- 
ported marriage in 1862 "that it was the first recorded in the new county of 
Fresno which up to that time formed a part of Mariposa County." This is obvi- 
ously also an absurd statement. Equally far from the truth was the statement 
that "for several years he was the only Republican who cast his vote in Miller- 
ton, then the county seat of Fresno County." The distinction of having been the 
historical "Lone Republican" in the county has been fastened on various per- 
sons, now dead, among them the late Judge Charles A. Hart and the late 
Supervisor H. C. Daulton. Truth is that the subject of the obituary never 
did vote at Millerton because there were precinct polling places at Coarse 
Gold and at Centerville even before the Republican party came into existence. 
If there is a well authenticated historical incident it is the one that the "Lone 
Republican" of Fresno that gained a state wide name because casting the only 
Republican vote in his locality for that new party's first presidential nominee 
was "Dad" Aldrich. or Aldridge (the spelling is varied). He gained that 
publicity because of his vote for Abraham Lincoln at the election November 
6. 1860, at the Coarse Gold precinct. The late Capt. R. P. Mace of Madera 
was the presiding officer at the polling place, and the late James G. McCardle 
and William Cunningham (brother-in-law of Mace by the latter's second 
marriage), escorted and protected Aldrich to the ballot box to vote, the three 



38 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

cognizant of the threats made by certain roughs against Aldrich that "no 
damned Abohtionist would vote if they could prevent it." 

Burns was undoubtedly one of the earliest voting Republicans in the 
county as he was also one of the 100 who subscribed for small stock holdings 
to start the Fresno Republican newspaper under the late Dr. Chester Rowell. 
It is not to say that in the activities of his day and time he did not aid and 
encourage the movements for the development of the county, for he did do so. 
It is however to record historj^ that he chose to drift with the times and while 
encouraging these movements did not initiate any. He was not ambitious on 
these lines. He did not yearn to flash in the lime light of publicity. He had a 
competency and was content to let well enough alone. His competency 
dwindled with time but to the end he pursued a life of restful peace and quiet. 

A widow, two sons and four daughters survive him. A member of the 
Presbyterian church from childhood, he was not bound by sectarianism in 
religious matters. Report had it that he took comfort before death from the 
23rd Psalm and at the last recited it to the end: 

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 

"All the days of my life ; 

"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord 

"Forever." 

Joseph M. Kinsman 

During the year, 1916, Joseph M. Kinsman of Madera, a pioneer of 1848, 
headed the list. He and his brother, Albert, known as "Al," were of the clan 
of squawmen so numerous in the days when a white woman in the mining 
regions was a rarity. Joseph was the surviving brother and he died December 
26, 1916. The story is told that a fad of later days was his collection of news- 
papers and prints with storied experiences of the pioneer times. He was him- 
self a fountain of information and had a remarkable memory of what he had 
in his unclassified collection. It is said that he wantonly set fire to his shack 
and destroyed the collection that would have been a priceless treasure for 
the historian. Neither brother filled a place in public or historic life. 

Joseph Kinsman died at his Northfork miner's cabin at the age of eighty- 
nine years and ten months. He was a sailor in youth, born in Boston in 1826, 
came to California in 1849 and mined on the Chowchilla, later went into busi- 
ness at Merced Falls, Mariposa County, and in 1875 settled at Hooker's Cove 
at Northfork and continued there until death. It was said of him that he was 
a life-long Democrat and a Southern sympathizer in the Civil War. although 
a Northerner born, and was known as "the Connecticut Rebel." It is recalled 
of him that he kept a diary of daily events from 1849 to 1875 when it was 
destroyed by fire, and then that he opened another. 

Capt. R. P. Mace and Wife 

A notable death preceding that of Kinsman's, was that of Mrs. Jennie 
E. Mace, pioneer of 1855-56 and widow of Capt. R. P. Mace (April 24, 1894). 
She died July 17, 1916; he was a California '49er. Death, in the home of over 
forty years of residence, removed in Mrs. Mace the oldest pioneer woman of 
Madera County. Her first California home was at O'Neal's, and during her 
sixty-one years in the valley, she saw Fresno, Merced, Mono and Madera 
Counties come into e.xistence and the cities of Fresno and Madera spring out 
of the plains. She was a native of Ireland, born in August, 1837, and with her 
father, Andrew Cunningham, and her mother, came to Indiana when only 
a few weeks of age. She married in 1855, John Gilmore, and the honeymoon 
was passed on the journey to California. She settled at O'Neal's, where she 
lived nineteen years and where a daughter (Mrs. Tillie Gilmore-Brown) and 
two sons were born. Her marriage to Capt. Mace occurred in 1866. She was 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 39 

a much beloved woman, who was noted for many acts of charity and benevo- 
lence, was prominent in the Methodist Church, South, and in 1869 was one 
with others, to organize at Fort Miller, one of the first Sunday schools in 
the valley, the abandoned guardhouse being the place of meeting. In pos- 
session of her faculties to the last, she could talk interestingly of experiences 
from the viewpoint of the good wife, the respected woman and the honored 
mother of two families. 

Capt. Mace's adventurous career started with a sea voyage as a cabin 
boy from Boston to New Orleans, thereafter with a companion he spent a 
roving season with a French trader among the Comanches. At Independence, 
Mo., he joined the trading train of the American Fur Trading Company en 
route to Bent's Fort on the Arkansas. He accompanied Robert Isher, noted 
scout, trapper and trainer of Kit Carson, on the volunteer journey to Taos, 
to convey important messages for 180 miles to Charles Bent, one of the four 
brothers, trailing through the hostile region of the Utes. The journeying was 
done by night with concealment in canyons by daylight. The return to the 
fort was with escort of trappers and hunters. Mace continued in the employ 
of Charles Bent for six years as a trusty scout, carrying express from Bent's 
Fort to Fort George on another dangerous trail and taking his life in hand on 
every journey and on one occasion holding five Indians at bay. 

For two years with Kit Carson he hunted the buffalo for meat for the 4O0 
employes of the fur company, chasing the bison over the present site of 
Denver, Colo., and also being at Pueblo, that state, when the first adobe was 
raised for a trading post. At twenty-three he returned to New Orleans, con- 
tinued for three years as clerk in a wine house and at the outbreak of the 
war with Mexico was among the first to volunteer and for three months served 
under Gen. E. P. Gaines. Louisiana being requisitioned upon for a regiment. 
Mace returned to New Orleans on leave, recruited the first company for that 
first regiment, was appointed captain — hence the title that remained with him 
through life — was the senior in rank and served until the treaty of peace. He 
also served in quelling an Indian uprising in Yucatan. The gold discovery 
attracted him to California and the year 1849 saw him in San Francisco 
(Yerba Buena) camped in Happy Valley, south of Market street, afterward 
the manufacturing and foundry district, headed soon for Rose's Bar on the 
Yuba and with varying success mining for twenty years. Later at Millerton, 
he and a company spent three years building a race to turn the San Joaquin 
River for mining. They first struck it rich, making from a few buckets of 
dirt, $900 and $1,000 a day for several days, but the bed soon played out. 
He had also a quartz lead at Fine Gold Gulch. This was mismanaged and 
destroyed in his absence. The later No-Fence law practically ruined him so 
he killed his live stock to dispose of it. He rented and managed the hotel at 
the ambitious settlement at Borden which once aspired to be the county seat 
of Fresno County, continuing from 1874 until 1876, when Madera was founded 
and he was one of the first to buv town lots. Madera eventually crowded 
Borden oflf the map. In 1877 he built the Y'osemite Hotel in Madera, stopping 
place for Yosemite Valley travel via Raymond, and when it was destroyed 
bv fire he erected the standing brick structure that faces the railroad depot. 
Capt. Mace was justice of the peace for years and served for three terms in 
the state legislature. 

Running allusion is made to his career to emphasize the spirit and 
character of the men who were the prominent pioneers of Fresno. They were 
men that did things. It was not the period for mollycoddles. 

Thomas Sprecherman, also known as "Tom Jones," who came on the 
Chowchilla as a miner in 1849, and John Besore, of French descent and an 
early pioneer, have been on the list. They and Thomas J. Dunlap, popularly 
known as Jefif Dunlap. all Fresnans, became Maderans after county division 
because they lived north of the San Joaquin River line. 



40 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

The Akers Family 

The Akers family group is a notable one of five brothers with many 
descendants. They came overland to the territory in 1853 via the southern 
route, heading straight for Millerton and settling on the Kings River at Cen- 
terville or Scottsburg as the first settlement was named. They were in the 
order of primogeniture; Harvey (died June 17, 1911), at the age of eighty- 
three. Smith and Anderson (both long since passed away) and the surviving 
two youngest, Henry F. and William Albertus. A sister is another survivor, a 
resident of Bitterwater in San Benito County. 

The Akers made up an oxteam party of emigrants and it is related that 
when near where Tulare City is now located they found themselves almost 
out of provisions and facing starvation. Ahead of them trailed another party 
fairly well supplied with stock cattle. It bogged in crossing the Kings River, 
and what was its loss and misfortune proved the salvation of the others, for 
the Akers party rescued the mud imbedded cattle out of the river bottom and 
slaughtering them for beef was enabled to close in on the last lap of the long 
journey and to furnish itself with meat after arrival at destination. 

James N. Walker 

Another who was once listed was a pioneer of the valley, influential in 
his day politically and financially, James Null Walker, who died January, 
1916. His closing career is tinged pitiably when he is recalled in the days of 
the dandified and handsome personage of younger and middle age, in contrast 
with his Rip Van Winkle sloven, ragged and neglected appearance of the 
closing days. A day had been when none was too high not to court the friend- 
ship and acquaintance of the Hon. James N. Walker. A Missourian, born in 
February, 1829, he was brought up in the handling of stock and at fifteen was 
sent to the New Orleans market in charge of his father's cattle, and later was 
taken into partnership. He m'ade his last trip to New Orleans as a drover 
in 1849 and netted enough out of the joint venture to purchase an outfit to 
come to California in 1850 and arrived in August, after the overland oxteam 
journey. 

He mined in Grass Valley. Nevada County, and in Mariposa County 
following up mining with merchandising at Coarse Gold Gulch in Fresno 
County. He conducted a large credit business with the miners but had to 
close out at a heavy loss with the early giving-out of the mines. Walker's 
Store was a political and civic center in those days. Ranching at Fine Gold 
followed, and in the foothills, in 1863, he stocked a range with four dollar a 
head cattle and in 1867 located also on the north side of the San Joaquin. 
This was an establishment that was a show place in its day, it was added 
to until he had 1,3(X) acres on the river, first raising mules, then interested for 
twelve years in sheep and later in cattle. Prosperity favored him in this and 
other enterprises and he served two terms in the state legislature after 1861, 
was twice sherifl!^ after 1866. and an assemblyman in 1870. 

It was said of him in 1905, that he was then one of five left of the early 
settlers of Fresno County, manifestly as incorrect a statement as the popu- 
larly misconceived one that he was the first sheriff of the county. Still. Walker 
was a prominent and honored citizen in his day. There is in existence a re- 
markable photographic work of art by Frank Beck picturing him tuning up 
an old fiddle. The picture was one of twelve that won for Beck the first prize 
at the photographers' national convention exhibition at Chautauqua. Walker 
died at the age of eighty-six leaving a $40,000 estate, a widow. Agnes J. Cran- 
mer, and seven children, four of them daughters. 

Joseph Medley and T. J. Dunlap 

Death removed from the list, in the summer of 1917, Joseph Medley and 
T. T- Dunlap. Medley, born in October, 1826, was a picturesque character, a 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 41 

resident of the Auberry \'alley section for upwards of sixty-six years, identi- 
fied with activities in the Tollhouse lumber district, a miner of course in the 
first days, and a squawman as was his brother, Marion, whose death preceded 
his. Joseph went through life without achieving other mark of distinction 
than as the picturesque survivor of a past day, eking out an existence as a 
cattle and hog rancher, and removed only a degree above the Indian whose 
life long associate he had been. His remains lie buried in the little cemetery 
at Auberry Grove and, at the simple funeral (July 9, 1917) Rev. Hardie Con- 
nor of the near-by Indian Mission of^ciated. Surviving Medley were son and 
daughter, three nephews and a niece. Leaving no impress of his long life 
on the history of the county, yet talking interestingly of the very earliest 
personal recollections of it and its men, the most lurid events in his negative 
career are recalled in visits to the later founded Fresno City in its infant days 
to yield to the pitfalls in his path in the den that was dignified with the name 
of the Star Theater to squander with the prodigality of a Monte Cristo the 
returns of successive seasons from sale of hogs and cattle, returning to foot- 
hill haunts and squaw, bankrupt after wasting his substance on the bediz- 
zened and short skirted damsels who welcomed him as long as his money 
lasted. Medley ended his days in the almshouse, decrepit and almost blind. 
The local print noticed his death in a twenty-five-line obituary, without re- 
vealing the picturesque identity of the character that had passed away. 

Of another stamp was T. J. Dunlap of Madera, arrival of 1852-53, whom 
fortune favored at the very outset in making him strike it rich with a cousin 
in mining at the mouth of Kaiser Creek where it empties into the San Joaquin, 
later selling the claim for a big price after having profitably worked it for 
years. His later day home was on the ranch near Fine Gold ; in the 70's he 
was in the lumber business with saw mill on the site of what is now Bass 
Lake in Madera County, one of the impounded water reservoirs for electric 
power generation and at the upper end of which is located The Pines resort. 

Dunlap represented in the Fresno County board of supervisors the dis- 
trict north of the San Joaquin, made a campaign for sheriff, but was defeated, 
and was a deputy under County Assessor W. J. Hutchinson. He was a citizen 
of note and his death was at the age of eighty-nine. As with many others 
Fortune, fickle drab that she is. gave him cold shoulder in his last days ; or 
perhaps times and conditions had changed and the pioneer of other days fell 
by the wayside in the swifter march of the day. 

Passing allusion is made here only to earliest of pioneers in Mrs. Ann 
McKenzie-Hart who died in 1910, at the age of eightv-five and Dr. Lewis 
Leach who passed away at seventy-four, in March, 1897. Record of them is 
found elsewhere. They were of the very first white permanent settlers. 
Others might be recalled but they would have to be summoned out of ob- 
scurity. It is with sadness that it must be noted that in their closing days 
fate has been unkind, even harsh, with some of these pioneers of pioneers, 
for burdened with the ills and infirmities of age and poverty not a few have 
had to seek the sheltering roof of public institutions. 

John Dwyer and Robert Brantsford 

Not overlooked should be one who, until his death in June, 1912, was 
a character in Fresno city. John Dwyer came to the territory with the soldiers 
to give protection to the miners against the hostile Indians. He came as a 
drummer boy and the tale is, that on the march through Death Valley he was 
carried, in an exhausted state, for two days and nights on the shoulders of 
Robert Pirantsford, a stalwart and burly Virginian and soldier of the expedi- 
tion. Dwyer labored on the hand-operated saw mill that turned out the logs 
and planks for Fort Miller, the soldiers first bivouacking at Fort Washington, 
further down on the river, where today the school district bearing the name 
is located. 



42 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Dwyer was also of the squawmen contingent. After leaving the garrison 
he became a freight carrier between Stockton and the Southern Mines ; in 
this connection the story is recalled that as an expert horseman he was once 
a principal at Stockton, in a wager with thousands in gold dust at stake, as 
to who had the best horse to move a load of given weight over a marked 
course. The demonstration by his opponent foreshadowed his loss of the 
wager, but a quick thought saved the day. Dwyer jumped on his horse a- 
straddle and with the added weight the animal was enabled to secure better 
foothold to start moving the load and the wager was won. Dwyer was known 
in Fresno as "The sand wagon man" from his vocation of carting and selling 
sand for mortar, plaster and other construction work. 

Dwyer had passed his eighty-fourth year when death summoned him. It 
is to be noted as remarkable, the years that the men and women of the pioneer 
times attained after the hardships and privations endured. Dwyer as a team- 
ster hauled the material in the construction of the Millerton courthouse, was 
a California volunteer in the Civil War, took unto wife the widow, Mary 
Friedman of ]\IiIlerton, was a pioneer of Fresno city, and a member of the 
first volunteer fire company. His lot in life was an humlde one but he shirked 
no duty. 

Of Brantsford who also joined the squawmen, it is recorded that he died 
in September, 1890, and in his will, made liberal provision for a daughter 
Martha, the offspring of a Mono Indian mother, who was known as Mary 
Hancock because of having assumed other marital relations. Brantsford left 
for the daughter a trust estate, with Jasper D. Musick as executor of his will. 

James J. Rogers 

Included in the list of survivors at one time, but eliminated in the course 
of revisions was also James J. Rogers, whose death was at the age of eighty- 
two. He was born in Illinois March 17, 1822, the son of Robert Rogers and 
Helen Patterson, and a direct descendent of Gen. Robert Rogers of French and 
Indian wars. Rogers served under Gen. Winfield Scott in the War with 
Mexico and was one of the twelve that carried the .American f^ag into the 
capital, Mexico City, on the 14th of September, 1847, when the victorious 
army marched into the city and occupied the national palace. He married 
Cynthia Ann Stephens, born in Illinois December, 1830, daughter of William 
Stephens and Delia Short, the latter a descendant of Capt. Short of Revolu- 
tionary fame, and the parents of J. B. Stephens, who' was a captain in the 
Mexican and Civil wars. James Rogers married at Little Rock, Ark., Sep- 
tember 26, 1848, left for California April 1, 1850, via the southern route 
through New Mexico and Arizona, arrived at Los Angeles August 1, 1850, 
settled at Stockton in the spring of 1851, engaged in mining until 1857 and 
then removed to Fresno county where a large family was reared. The Rogers 
were the pioneer owners of the Rogers Hot Springs, known now as the Fresno 
Hot Springs. James J. Rogers died at Los Angeles March 6, 1904. Mrs. 
Cynthia A. Rogers, the widow, lived at last accounts (November 20, 1918), 
at Stockton, Cal., and though eighty-eight years of age is a wonderfully pre- 
served woman, who despite her years is able to read and write without diffi- 
culty, goes wither and when the mood possesses her and has found time to 
knit for the American soldiers in France. 

BACK TO MINING ERA 

In the rostered membership of the Fresno County Pioneers' Association 
are the following named living residents whose days go back to the mining 
era of the decade of the 50's, namely ; 

1856 — Mrs. Marv A. Parker-Strivens. Charles E. Strivens, James T. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 43 

Parker, Henry Wells, Mrs. Sallie Cole-Sample (Obit., Dec. 17, 1917), and 
T. F. Boling. 

1857—1. W. Hollidav, G. W. Statham and Frank M. Lewis. 

1858— John C. Hoxie (Obit., Nov. 21. 1918), Elizabeth J. Hoxie-Barth, 
Sewell F. Hoxie, Mrs. Tillie Gilmore-Brown and Charles Crawford. 

1859— Lil A. and Led. F. Winchell (Obit., 1918), Mrs. Peter Parry and 
Mrs. Carrie E. Hoxie-McKenzie. 

Some of these were children at the time. They are excluded from the 
pioneer list of territorial residents before county organization date. The asso- 
ciation residence date qualification for membership is the removal year of 
the countv seat of Millerton in 1874. 



CHAPTER III 

History of State is Unique and Redolent of Romance. Its 
Name an Etymological Enigma. Riches of California 
Greater Than Those of the Fabled Indies. Long Neglected 
BY Its Spanish Possessors. Practically Unpeopled Was 
the Territory Before the Discovery of Gold. Spain Over- 
looked Its Opportunity. "Inferno of 49" Startles the 
World. The Day of Another Controlling Race Dawns 
With the Setting of the Sun on the Golden Age of the 
Missions. 

California is a land redolent of romance in its early history of discovery 
and exploration. Its very name created in 1510 for a romance of medieval 
chivalry, "the most fictitious of fiction," is an etymological enigma to this 
day. Its source origin in a forgotten Spanish romance was not discovered 
until the winter of 1863, and then by Rev. Edward E. Hale in the course of 
Spanish archival researches at a time when he expected to become the reader 
and amanuensis for William H. Prescott. the historian. Melodious as the 
name is, the California poet Edwin H. Markham. observes that it is "as 
well also the oldest of any state save only Florida," given by Ponce de Leon 
in 1512, while in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth. 

For long California was "a mere field of cosmographic conjecture," 
whether island, peninsula or part of mainland. Its location was placed some- 
where between Mexico and India, with its boundaries vagueness itself. The 
fabled and the material California have in turn attracted a world's undivided 
interest. Her history is unique. Considered in entirety or in its successive 
phases, the record is one unequalled in variety, originality and interest by 
that of any other province of the New World. Whether regarded from the 
purely romantic or the positive, materialistic viewpoint, no state of the union 
has commanded more continuous notice and attention. \\'riters and historians 
ever return for a fascinating theme to California, land of gold, of perpetual 
sunshine, of natural blessings such as no other land has been endowed with 
in such prodigality. 

The romancer of 1510 described his California as an imaginary island 
"located on the right hand of the Indies, very near the terrestrial paradise." 
He peopled it with black Amazons, who trained griffins for warfare and 
caparisoned them with gold. The only mineral on the island was gold, though 
it was fabulously rich also in precious stones and pearls. It was, as Poet 
Markham described it, "a rosy romance." Still the Spanish romancer's most 
extravagant dreams did not conjure up such a rich land as the real, material- 
istic California has proven to be. The California that the explorers placed on 
the map and named proved in truth to be the land of gold and of untold riches. 
Not of precious stones and pearls, but of gold and products of the virgin soil. 



44 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

The gold was not unearthed until nearly three and a half centuries after 
the romance, and then by the Anglo-Americans, in whose veins throbbed and 
pulsated to action the admixed red blood of preceding generations of the 
adventurous and resistless Saxon. 

The problem of Columbus' day was to reach "far Cathay" by sea, sailing 
westward — to open a new route to India. Ever the cry was India. This fever- 
ish quest for wealth was the impelling motive also of Hernando Cortez after 
his conquest of Mexico and the subjugation of Montezuma (1520-21). In the 
various explorations under him, of the California and North Pacific coasts 
(1532-37), whatever the specific moving cause of particular expeditions, 
whether in the alarm-spreading presence in the North Pacific of English buc- 
caneer or freebooter to seize the annual Spanish treasure galleon from the 
Philippines, whether the threatened aggressions of foreign powers for terri- 
torial acquisition or commercial spoliation, or whether the location of a Cali- 
fornia relief port for the teredo-eaten hull or scurvy-stricken crew of the 
annual "great Manila ship." 

It was all very nice for the history recording apologists for "these con- 
scienceless gold-seeking adventurers" to advance the specious plea for them, 
of spreading the faith and win souls through religion, their real motive in 
the quest for the Indies was always gold, precious stones, the luxurious and 
costly fabrics — to find the shorter route to wealth, glory and the commerce 
with the Eastern El Dorado, fat and overflowing with the things precious 
for the increasing wealth and luxurious demands of the age. 

Great would be the glory and great also the profit of the individual or the 
nation that would shorten the overland route to India, minimize its perils and 
difficulties, and pour into the receptive lap of Europe the priceless and 
coveted commodities of Asia in quantity unstinted. The very name of India 
suggested bovindless wealth and riotous, luxury. The Indian sea-route never 
was voyaged, via the fabled and long sought "Strait of Anian," because the 
early navigators had to learn that a New World continental barrier blocked 
the way. In the course of time and in a slow but gradual unfolding of a fore- 
ordained destinv, California astonished the world with her stores of gold 
and her succeeding greater material wealth in the soil and products thereof, 
and her name was acclaimed the synonym for a wealth incomparably greater 
and more substantial than all the fabled and dreamed of treasures of the 
Indies. 

It was long the subject for wonder and amazement with early travelers 
and the sea commanders that California so rich and fertile, a great territory 
capable of sustaining such a large population, and a region so remarkably 
favored by nature in all things conducive to man's comfort, happiness and 
prosperity, should, for more than three-quarters of a century during the Span- 
ish-Mexican regime from 1767 to 1846, be left neglected, remain practically 
undeveloped, its vast gold-besprinkled interior unknown and unexplored, and 
the stretch of country along an ocean highway so ill protected as to make it 
the easy prey of any nation that would have cared to seize it. The little known 
concerning the land and its isolation were the main safeguards against such 
forcible seizure. 

During the later development periods, California's geographical isolation 
and position was relatively a less important controlling factor than in the 
times of discovery exploration. Stretching along the unknown Pacific, the 
right to control the commerce on which the Spaniards asserted, and next 
door neighbor to their Mexican province, it was natural that they should dis- 
cover California and hold possession. No reason then to imagine that the 
English speaking settlers from the extreme eastern continental shore would 
come and control the most remote and isolated western border. Previous to 
the adventitious discovery of gold, in January, 1849, California was practically 
unpeopled, save for the few scattered Spanish settlements near the sea-coast 
by those who had come by the comparatively easier and shorter journey from 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 45 

Alexico, helped out by occasional Americans and others landed or deserting 
from trading vessels, or wandering across the country as hunter, trapper or 
adventurer. 

It required a transcendental event to bring about, as it did, California's 
phenomenally rapid settlement, to brave and overcome the physical obstacles 
and geographic barriers on the months' long and dangerous overland journey. 
But for'the lure of gold, California might have long continued a sparsely 
populated country tobe settled and developed slowly by a farming class as 
Oregon and Washington were in large part. The real, positive and unlooked 
for development of the state began with the discovery of gold. Only natural 
that Spain should be first to send settlers, but her error was in not practically 
following up her decided advantages in the presented opportunity. Existing 
conditions in a country of plenty and the easy life in a genial climate, without 
necessity for arduous toil ''tended no doubt toward stagnation rather than 
progress." Had these pioneers and their descendants been of as progressive 
a race as those that were to dispossess them, the very barriers separating the 
west from the east would have been Mexico's most helpful agency in retaining 
her California province. 

As established in the Californias, the missions were as much political as 
religious institutions, and they were accorded the protection of the king's 
soldiers, wretchedly equipped, ill-paid and frequently unpaid for long as they 
were. Kings of Spain and viceroys of Mexico made their entrances and exits 
on the world's stage, but California slumbered along and underwent little 
material change from the discovery days under Cortez, save for the fringe 
of civilization planted along the sea-coast and spread out thinly from the 
twenty-one missions from San Diego to Sonoma. In 1831 these missions had 
already lost much of their splendor and greatness. The downhill grade began 
in 1824, followed by secularization in 1845, sale of a number of missions for 
a song, and the neglected Indian converts scattered to run wild and wretched 
over the country. 

Almost up to the time that the great immigration upon the gold discovery 
startled the world, ushering in an era so extraordinary in history that H. H. 
Bancroft, the California historian, has epitomized it in the trite phrase, "The 
Inferno of 4^," the interior valley country, which has been the wealth basis 
of the state through every development stage, continued terra incognita prac- 
tically. The little known concerning it was indefinite and much of this con- 
jectural. The very purpose for which the information was gathered — if it 
was with a definite object in view — existed no more because secularization 
under the Mexican republic had sealed the doom of the missions and bereft 
the padres of power and property. The sun then set on the golden age of the 
missions, the dav of another race dawned and with it was ushered in the real 
and too long held back advancement of a sadly neglected land. 

CHAPTER IV 
California'.? Colonization Delayed for Centuries. Settle- 
ments ALL Located on the Coast. Upper California 
Imperfectly Known. No Inducement to Explore the 
Interior. Expeditions Undertaken to Locate New Mis- 
sion Sites. Ensign Moraga the INIost Enterprising 
Explorer of His Time. Padre Garces Starting Out From 
Yuma, Traverses the Valley as Far South as the Present 
Location of Bakersfield, A Remarkable Journey. 

"And it all availed nothing." 

Little effect on the substantial new conditions after the American con- 
quest had all the impotent efforts to block manifest destiny during the three- 



46 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

quarters of a century of the Spaniard and the Mexican, with the heroic work 
of the padres in their missionary and civilizing labors. The quoted phrase 
epitomizes in fitting epitaph the passing of the Spanish rule in California 
(1769-1828) with its ten vice-regal governors, of the Mexican rule (1822-46) 
with its thirteen governors, and incidentally the end of the efforts of the 
padres, at times arising almost to the sublimity of martyrdom, to convert the 
Indian and introduce an effete civilization. 

The two periods cast over the early history of California a glamor of 
romance and the picturesque but added little or nothing to the real and 
materialistic. No effort in Upper California at colonization was made for a 
little more than two and one-half centuries after Juan R. Cabrillo's voyage in 
1542-3 exploring the coast line, half a century before the discovery of Massa- 
chusetts bay, nor for more than 160 years after Sebastian Viscaino's, in 
November and December, 1602, when he set foot in the harbors of San Diego 
and Monterey. 

To prevent Russian encroachment southward from Fort Ross and Bodega 
bay and to convert the Indians, successive land and sea expeditions sent out 
from Mexico eventually established a chain of twenty-one military and relig- 
ious establishments located at intervals of a day's journey by horse along or 
near the coast. 

The first of these was founded by Padre Junipero Serra in July, 1769, 
and the last in August, 1823, as one of two north of the Bay of San Francisco, 
blunderingly located by Caspar de Portola in a search for Montere}' Bay, but 
ignorant to the last that he had given the world one of its three greatest har- 
bors. San Francisco Bay was long after its discovery mapped as Sir Francis 
Drake's Bay and was so shown in Colton's Atlas, published as late as 1855 
for use in the public schools. In the very early histor}' of California, Serra, 
the simple friar, was the greatest pioneer, the first civilizer of the western 
coast, the ver}' heart and soul of the spiritual conquest, and he it was who 
"lifted California from the unread pages of geological history and placed it 
on the modern map." 

Upper California's physical geography was imperfectly known until after 
American explorers and scientists investigated. Little attention was paid this 
subject further than to learn something generally of the country on the ocean 
border from San Diego to Fort Ross. This was a forty to fifty miles-wide 
strip comprising the white settlements concerning which anything was known 
with accurate particularity. So also as regards the boundaries. Not until 
the Americans seized Oregon was it that they, and not the English under 
claim of the Francis Drake (1579) and George Vancouver (1791-94) discov- 
eries, were dealt with in settling the northern boundary dispute. The eastern 
line question was not determined until the entire country came into the pos- 
session of the United States after the war with Mexico. Even then the segre- 
gation was by the Americans themselves with California's admission into the 
union in September, 1850. Down to the American conquest, the Californians 
occupied only a negligible portion of the interior, yet while knowing nothing 
of the country east of the Sierras, save by report, they asserted claim to the 
land as far eastward as Salt Lake. 

The coast mission sites were located with reference to sea harbors a& 
San Diego, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, while 
the others on the Camino del Rey (King's Highway), connecting them all, 
were selected with special regard to water for irrigation. California's climate 
was similar in general to that of Mexico and the solicitude of the padres was 
ever to chose well watered sites in fertile valleys for their establishments. 
Their judgment of sites was admirable. Settlements along the camino mani- 
fested no tendency to spread from the coast. The interior was so inaccessible 
and appeared so dry and inhospitable. The fathers discouraged mining — in 
short there was no inducement to explore the interior, while the isolation 
tended to self support and the development of a quiet pastoral life. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 47 

Barter there was none, except in liides and tallow with the periodical 
New England traders, and hence cattle raising became the industry. Geo- 
graphic considerations determined the location of the settlements and the 
occupation of their founders. The seaports and valleys would probably other- 
wise have received most of the new comers, until they came to appreciate the 
necessity for irrigation, when they would gradually have spread to the interior. 
The search for gold in turn headed them from the agricultural districts into 
the gulches and canyons of the Sierras, and so with the great stampede, 
mining camps and towns .sprang like mushrooms in the Sierra foothill belt. 
Locations were controlled by convenience to some rich bar or stream, often 
in narrow gulch or on steep mountain slope, rarely with regard to farming 
prospects or future lines of travel, activity or centers of population, accounting 
for the desertion of so many of them with the later changed conditions. 

The Spaniards extended the exploration of California with exasperating 
slowness during the half century and more that they were in undisturbed 
possession. After Juan B. de Anza's time, in 1774, most of the information 
concerning the interior was gathered in the search for sites for a projected 
interior parallel line of missions, or lay punitive military expeditions pursuing 
runaway neophytes. 

Thus in 1804 Padre Martin crossed the range to the Tulares, which he 
appears to have explored as far as the Kings River. Gov. Jose J. de Arrillaga 
(March 1800-July 1814), an enterprising soldier and a more zealous religionist 
than any of his predecessors, planned in 1806, a more extensive exploration of 
the interior than any before undertaken. A party was sent out from each 
of the four presidios. The one from Santa Barbara headed direct across the 
range via Santa Inez to the neighborhood of Bucna A'ista and Kern lakes 
and passing eastward reexplorcd at least part of the re^i'm that Padre Garces 
visited thirty years before. It returned via Mission San Gabriel, reporting the 
Indians well disposed but only one available mission site. 

In September, 1806, Ensign Gabriel Moraga, great Indian fighter and the 
most enterprising of the soldier explorers of his day. left Mission San Juan 
Bautista with a party of fifteen, crossed direct to the San Joaquin River which 
he had named nu an earlier \'isit, striking the river near the northern line of 
Fresno County. Turning north, he discovered and named the Mariposa River 
and he found what he regarded as a fairly good site near the present city of 
Merced. Continuing north, he crossed three other rivers which he named, and 
then came upon the Tuolumne tribe of Indians — the first recorded mention 
of them. 

At a large stream which some previous expedition possibly commanded 
by him had named, Moraga turned back on October 4, dividing his party by 
sending one section along the eastern side of the valley and skirting the Sierra 
foothills, while the other wended its way further westward. At any rate 
Moraga observed the entire valley to its southern limit more thoroughly than 
it had ever before come under human scrutiny. As the result of these expe- 
ditions. President Tapis, who had succeeded Lasuen as head of the missions, 
reported four or five good sites discovered, but that a new presidio would 
have to be provided to protect them. 

In 1807 Moraga made another journey to the San Joaquin Valley with a 
party of seventy-five, going as far as the foothills of the Sierras : and in 1810 
two more. On the first he started out from the Mission San Jose and returned 
via San Juan Bautista : on the other he revisited the Merced country in quest 
of runaways, captured thirty and brought back a few hostiles. 

The accompanying padres said that they found the Indians generally 
tractable and well disposed. In the Tulare country many children were pre- 
sented for baptism, but as no assurance was forthcoming that they would be 
reared in the faith the padres declined to administer the sacrament. They 
baptized however many old and sick people, who were in immediate danger 
of death, and remained with some of these until the end. 



48 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Moraga is admittedly foremost in the early exploration visits to the 
interior of California, but there is one other — Padre Francisco Garces — to 
share honors for an intrepid undertaking. By this time eight missions had 
been founded, three more projected along the coast and Padre Serra had had 
his heart's desire gratified in the mission at San Francisco dedicated to St. 
Francis, patron saint of his priestly order. Padre Garces was of the Portola 
first land expedition from Sonora in Mexico to IMonterey in California in 
1774, and one of the most remarkable of missionary explorers of the south- 
west. He was located at a frontier mission near the Apache country border, 
exposed to all the dangers from those daring marauders. He was left behind 
at Yuma "to teach religion" to the Indians until Anza's return from his second 
land expedition, in 1775-76, with settlers from the Colorado with which to 
found the San Francisco mission. 

Without following up the itinerary, suffice it to say that, when ready in 
February to begin one of the longest and most dangerous journeys under- 
taken by him, it was with the hope of opening another route north of that 
which Anza had trailed across the inhospitable desert and more direct from 
the Colorado to the Mission of San Luis Obispo, or as far north as Monterey, 
if fortune favored. 

On this journey he discovered the Mojave River at its sink and reached 
San Gabriel mission in March, crossing the San Bernardino mountains. In 
the Tulare valley he came upon Indians differing from any before met with 
in that they lived in enclosed camps, each family in its own house, walled, 
tule roofed and with nightly guard stationed at each house. These Indians 
aided him to cross the Kern River near the present site of Bakersfield. A five 
days northward journey brought him to White River, where, having no more 
presents for distribution and being dependent upon strange tribes for food, 
he turned back reluctantly, having reached the latitude of Tulare Lake, 
though he did not behold it as he was probably not far from the base of 
the mountains and much farther east. 

To paraphrase Z. S. Eldredge's History of California: He was now in 
that great interior valley toward which the gold hunters of the world turned 
so eagerly three-quarters of a century later. Lightly concealed in the beds 
of the mountain streams farther north, lay more gold than Cortez had wrung 
from Mexico or Pizarro from Peru . . . and succeeding generations 
would find in the soil of the valley itself a far more permanent source of 
wealth. He had opened the way thither alone, unhelped by a single fellow 
being of his kind or kindred, he had explored it, braving the unknown dan- 
gers of the wilderness, the heat and thirst of the desert, the rush of mountain 
torrents, the ferocity of wild beasts, and the treachery of savages. He had 
reduced himself so nearly to the level of the savage that he was able to live 
as he lived, feed as he fed, on the vilest food, sleeping as he slept, in his filthy 
and vermin haunted camps, and exposing his life constantly to his treacherous 
impulses. And it all availed nothing! 

On rejoining his Indian companions who had refused to proceed farther 
with him among the unknown tribes, Garces set out by return route more to 
the east than the one by which he had come. He probably crossed the moun- 
tains at the Tehachapi pass, following the present day route of the Southern 
Pacific railroad to the neighborhood of Mojave, and thence made direct for 
the Colorado and Yuma country and following the Gila arrived at San Xavier 
del Bac in September. 

In this long tour he was accompanied only by Indians, his one associate 
companion, Estavan Tarabel. a runaway San Gabriel mission neophyte, who 
had proven a failure as a guide on Anza's first Sonora-Monterey overland ex- 
pedition. The Indians acted as interpreters but when they failed him Garces 
had recourse to the sign language. To arouse interest in his story of religion 
he exhibited his pictorial banner. He also relied upon his compass which 
never failed to interest and delight the Indian, and his cross, rosary and 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 49 

-missal. In his rewritten diary, he furnished much information which should 
have been of moment to the authorities, "but it was not for the reason that 
thev did not use it." 



CHAPTER V 

Tulare Swamps of Valley the Rendezvous of Renegade Neo- 
phytes AND Outlaws in General. Fremont Hesitated not 
TO Buy Stolen Horses. Faces, First White Man to Look 
Upon Interior Valley. Pursuit and Surrender of Revolt- 
ing Santa Barbara Channel Indians. Battle with the 
Fugitive Santa Clara Mission Converts in 1829. Vallejo 
Countenances a Shocking Butchery of Hapless Prisoners. 
Kidnaping of Gentile Children. 

The unexplored interior, or that central portion that was at all known 
to the Californians, was named the Tulares, or the Tulare country, because 
of the immense tule swamps formed in the depression or slough between 
Tulare Lake and the great bend of the San Joaquin, and above it by the Kern 
and other small bodies of water from the streams from the Sierras on the 
east and south. This slough carried the surplus waters of lake and upper part 
of valley off into the rivers in flood seasons. The valley was dry under foot 
in summer and autumn seasons and in drouth periods. Around the lakes and 
sloughs for miles, along almost the full length of the San Joaquin and the 
lower half of the Sacramento and over a large territory of low ground about 
their mouths, extensive tule covered swamp lands formed, salty where affected 
by ocean tides but fresh or brackish where not. 

The tule swamps, apparently one immense tract to the eye, were at 
intervals visited by the Spaniards and the Californians in pursuit of deserting 
Indians, and horse and cattle thieves. That region now embraced in Fresno, 
Kings and Tulare counties was inhabited by a warlike band of horse riding 
Indians, who not infrequently descended upon missions and ranches to run 
off stock and particularly mustangs, the Indian having a great fondness for 
horseflesh as an article of diet. The renegades piloted their wilder brothers 
on the forays and raids. These Tulareans were never subdued by the Span- 
iards, and the Tulares became in time a rendezvous for the runaway neo- 
phytes of the missions. They were also resorted to by horse thieves from 
New Mexico and elsewhere, and by Spanish and American adventurers to 
buy horses. John C. Fremont, concerning whom Senator Nesmith of Oregon 
once said that he had the credit with some people of having found every- 
thing west of the Rockies, had no moral scruples on his 1846 expedition to 
buy 187 horses from these Tulareans. despite the warning of John A. Sutter 
that he would receive stolen animals. A hunting knife and a handful of 
beads bought a horse. 

Many were the expeditions sent to the Tulares. The first of which there 
is record was in 1773, when Pedro Fages with a few soldiers sallied out 
from San Luis Obispo across the Coast Range to the vicinity of Tulare Lake 
in pursuit of runaways. He was the first white man to look upon the great 
interior valley. 

This Fages was a brave soldier, an undaunted explorer, a pioneer of 
pioneers and a gallant and picturesque figure of early California, who as a 
subaltern was prominent and foremost in the first land explorations of 
California as well as of the bay of San Francisco with Portola. He was 
California's first comandante of the military (1769-1773). He quarreled 
with Father President Serra, who had him deposed, but later retracted his 



50 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

accusations as unmerited. He was the fourth governor (1782-1790) and 
during his regime the wife's accusations and actions involved him in a juicy 
scandal agitating Monterey social circles from center to circumference. The 
end all was to prove that Fages was more sinned against than sinning, and 
the donna a woman, whose tact and discretion left much to be desired. In 
his retirement days, Fages was never out but he was followed by a band of 
children, attracted by the candies that he stuffed his pockets with for dis- 
tribution among them. 

The Tulares as the refuge of outlaws and evildoers was not infrequently 
the scene of conflicts with them. In 1805 a small military party was sent 
out from Mission San Jose to punish gentiles (Indians that were never 
affiliated with mission) who had attacked a missionary who had gone on 
an errand of mercy to their rancheria, and one of whose attendants had been 
killed. This party pursued the malcontents as far as the San Joaquin River, 
recovering thirty or forty runaways and capturing a lot of gentiles. 

The routed survivors of the general uprising of February, 1824, against 
the Santa Barbara channel cordon of missions, fled to the valley and were 
pursued in June following by 103 soldiers with two field pieces. The In- 
dians when overtaken in camp at Tulare Lake displayed a white flag. A 
conference followed, the two priests acted as negotiators, and as a result 
unconditional surrender, pardon and enforced return to their respective mis- 
sions. The number engaged in this revolt was upwards of 400. Had their 
secret conspiracy succeeded, there would have been massacre at all the 
missions. Its failure discouraged other attempts for a time. Santa Inez and 
Purisima with burning of the buildings and Santa Barbara were the missions 
attacked. 

Not until the spring of 1829 was there another general uprising, this 
time of the neophytes of Santa Clara and San Jose, who deserted and fortified 
themselves with gentiles near the San Joaquin River. A San Francisco expe- 
dition of fifteen men under Sergeant Antonio Soto was dispatched to capture 
the fugitives and destroy the fortification, but it was repulsed in penetrating 
a thicket of willows and brambles and withdrew to San Jose, where Soto 
died from his wounds. The Indians celebrated their victory with feasting 
and dancing, while neighboring rancherias made common cause with them, 
and the uprising threatened to become a dangerous one, necessitating rigor- 
ous repressive measures. Jose Sanchez was sent with a second expedition of 
forty from the San Francisco presidio but retired to San Jose without risking 
a second storming of the inner works on finding that the Indians had set 
up several strong lines of wooden palisades, the first of which had been 
destroyed. 

A third expedition of one hundred from Monterey under Ensign M. G. 
Vallejo joined the Sanchez force with Indian auxiliaries, and after a desper- 
ate fight the fugitives were driven from their intrenchments, unable to with- 
stand the musketry and cannonading. After the fight, "a most shocking and 
horrible butchery of prisoners took place." The auxiliaries ranging them- 
selves in a circle were permitted to exercise their skill in archerv upon the 
hapless prisoners in their midst, others were hanged from trees with vine 
ropes and old women shot down in cold blood. Estanislao, the native alcalde, 
who instigated the uprising, escaped the slaughter, delivered himself up to 
Father Narciso Duran of San Jose who concealed him for a time and finally 
secured his pardon. 

Finishing his bloody campaign, Vallejo returned to San Jose and Mon- 
terey. Father Duran attempted to have him prosecuted for "the greatest 
barbarity ever perpetrated in the territory." One soldier was sentenced to 
five years penal servitude for shooting down a defenseless old squaw, but 
Vallejo escaped trial. Duran, who as a Spaniard opposed the republic, as did 
all the missionaries, wielded less influence than Vallejo, who as usual ranged 
himself on the popular side and was in the line of promotion, wherefore 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 51 

according to Historian T. H. Hittell "by degrees tlie bloody story was sup- 
planted in the public mind by matters which were supposed to be of more 
immediate importance." 

Gen. M. G. Vallejo, as he was later known, was a man who has been 
given much prominence in the written early history of California, as well 
under the Mexican as the American regime. He was a delegate to the Mon- 
terey constitutional convention, honored politically then and afterward, a 
leader and spokesman for the California-born Spanish speaking population, 
lived the life of a feudal lord and baron at Sonoma with the history of the 
region north of San Francisco largely that of his own family, held the 
military title of General to his dying day yet never commanded more soldiers 
than would make up the complement of one company, revelled in wealth 
and luxury in the halcyon days and lived his later days in comparative pov- 
erty, was as proud as the most blue-blooded Hidalgo until the very last, was 
honored by the Society of California Pioneers, having arrived July, 1808, 
and by the Native Sons of the Golden West, a quoted authority on early 
California history, a friend at one time and the opponent at another, of the 
dominant Roman Catholic church, importing and collecting for private read- 
ing and library in his younger davs the very books that were forbidden by 
the church, and foremost as an influential individual in yielding to and advo- 
cating the change under American territorial acquisition. 

A reading between the lines of history impresses one that he was a very 
accommodating spirit, best described by the present-day term of a "political 
trimmer." His advocacy of the American regime was at a time when his 
opposition might have been feared for its possible results when the popular 
sentiment was not over friendly to the American cause. 

But what mattered it that a few Indians, more or less, were wantonly 
massacred? Some of the whites were no more considerate or humane. 

Towards the end of 1833, because of the frequency of raids by Indian 
horse thieves, it became the custom to send monthly expeditions, aided by 
rancheros, to overawe the marauders. It was not unusual for them to make 
slave prisoners of gentile children, wherever met with. An instance came 
under the notice of Governor Figueroa in the early part of 1835 as the result 
of a San Jose expedition and the kidnaping of seven children. He de- 
nounced the outrage in unmeasured terms, ordered the papooses placed in 
the mission until the parents could call for them, directed that no more 
expeditions be sent except in actual pursuit of horse thieves, and then only 
with express governmental permission. Figueroa had great sympathy for 
the Indian, due as much to his humanity as to his Aztec blood. He was so 
well thought of that he was called the "Benefactor of the Territory of Alta 
California." 

Lieut. Theodore Talbot, U. S. N., who had been left in command with 
nine men at Santa Barbara in September at the outbreak of the Californian 
insurrection, following the raising of the flag and after the retaking of Los 
Angeles, was called upon to surrender by one of the California military 
commanders. Talbot refused, but unable to resist the force of 200 against 
him retired to the mountains. His little party fought the pursuers, and fire 
was set to the woods to burn them out. Talbot and men escaped the flames 
and eluded the pursuit. An old soldier of e.x-Governor Micheltorena, who 
was unfriendly to the Californians because of their expulsion of his former 
chief, piloted the pursued ninety miles across the mountains into the Tulares. 
From here they groped their way for about a month, mostly on foot, endur- 
ing hardships and suffering, for some 500 miles to Monterey, arriving 
early in November and rejoining Fremont after having been given up 
for dead. 



52 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER VI 

Fresno County is the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley. The- 
CiTY IS THE State's Practical Geographical Center. Phys- 
ical Features of the Great Interior Basin. Climate a Most- 
Valuable Asset. Development Change Due to Irrigation. 
Destiny is to Support a Much Larger Farming Population. 
Fullest Growth Will be Attained with Conservation of- 
Water and Forests,, and Navigability of Its Main Water 
Course. 

Fresno County lies in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, and the 
latter is the central portion of the state. Fresno City is practically the- 
geographical center of the state, as it is the central spot of the valley. As 
valley or county, the region is one with many claims to distinction and not" 
a few to supremacy. Fresno is one of the five richest agricultural counties- 
in the United States. 

Between the San Joaquin and the Kings rivers, streams that rise in- 
the perpetual snows of the Sierras, bringing the life-giving waters out upon- 
the parched plains, to yield in orchard, vineyard and alfalfa fields, returns- 
greater than ever did the local gold placers, lies a broad-backed divide,, 
known as the Fresno plateau, though to the eye it is a part of the undulat- 
ing fertile plains of the great valley. The plain-like Sacramento-San 
Joaquin Valley — The Great Valley of California — was once a vast inland 
sea. Geological proof of this is not lacking. The plain is 400 miles long- 
and fifty to seventy wide, in the very heart of the state, nestling at 
the foot of the Sierra Nevadas. or Snowy Mountains, and according to scien- 
tists is one of the oldest, present day, existing physical features of California. 
Sparsely settled as yet, the prophetic predict that it will some day support" 
the bulk of the state's agricultural population. 

The Sierra Nevada is a range of extreme scenic grandeur and natural 
beauty, some of its valleys, as the Yosemite, the Forks of the Kings, and 
the Hetch-Hetchy, presenting sublime scenic spectacles. The range protects 
from the east the long, central, fruitful valleys of the San Joaquin and of 
the Sacramento. The Coast Range parallels the sea coast line and protects 
from the west. They unite near the 40th parallel and combined, extend north- 
ward into Oregon as the Cascade Range. The Great Valley is a basin 
between the two first ranges, gradually rising to them through foothills. 
The northern branch of the trough-like plain is known as the Sacramento r 
and the southern as the San Joaquin \^alley, each drained by a river of the 
same name, heading from opposite directions, uniting in the valley's western 
center and coursing westward to empty into San Francisco Bay. 

There was a time when the combined stream went out into the ocean 
through the Golden Gate, but owing to the sinking of the coast, in a great 
convulsion of nature and the earth, of which there is a hazy Indian tradition, 
the river was "drowned." Tidal influence is felt now no further inland than 
at Sacramento and Stockton. The coast subsidence once flooded the lower 
part of the valley, as even now at the junction of the rivers an overflowed' 
delta and marsh is forming and slowly being made into dry land by silting, 
the surface overgrown with tules. These reclaimed marshlands have proven 
remarkably productive. When the gold seekers first appeared, the Feather 
River was navigable by small boat to Marysville in Yuba County, and the- 
Sacramento as far as Red Blufif in Tehama County. Today they are scarcely- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 53 

navigable above Sacramento. The San Joaquin carries less water than the 
Sacramento, although dredging could make it navigable. 

Time was when the San Joaquin was navigable for freight scows, towed 
by light draught tugs, in spring high water, above the present railroad bridge 
across the river at Herndon in this county. Miller & Lux provisioned their 
big cattle ranches thus, and by water sent to market hides and spring wool 
cli'^ps. Millerton, the old county seat, was at times so provided with mer- 
chandise as a cheaper means of transportation than hauling by freight 
wagons from Stockton. The river was a navigable stream as far as Sycamore 
Point, above Herndon, and was so delineated on the old maps. So well 
recognized was the fact that when a bridge was put in at Firebaugh, it vv^as 
made a draw so as not to impede navigation of the stream. A demonstration 
river journey from Stockton with a light river steamer was successfully 
made in thesummer of 1911 in connection with an abortive agitation for a 
reduction of railroad freight rates and a congressional appropriation for 
the dredging of the river as a navigable stream as in the days of yore to 
near Fresno. 

The Coast range streams flowing eastward into the San Joaquin are 
small and dry in the summer. Those from the Sierras, flowing_ westward, 
are large, permanent and supply the water for irrigation. The main drainage 
line of the valley is consequently forced over to the west side by the delta 
accumulations on the Sierra side. In evidence of this, the Kings has silted 
up so large a delta as to block the one time continuous drainage of the 
valley and form Tulare Lake behind the dam as a permanent body of 
water. Later so much water was taken for irrigation that with the evapora- 
tion the lake almost went dry and the lake shores were farmed. A few years 
ago, six in fact, the water accumulated again and the lake was reproduced 
but of reduced size. The Kern River's debris also dammed the valley, creat- 
ing Buena Vista and Kern Lakes at the extreme southern end, though in 
high water stages Buena Vista discharges northward into the Tulare basin 
and also southward into Kern Lake. 

The western sides of the valley are much drier than the eastern because 
of the Coast range barrier, and therefore are in greater need of irrigation. 
Much of this land will bear good grain crops in average rainy years. Other 
large areas are semi arid and suitable only for grazing during the spring 
months. Nearly one-third of Fresno County's area is on the dry west side, 
which if ever brought under irrigation would yield results to duplicate the 
agricultural wonders of the past and add immensely to the productive wealth 
of the county. 

The climatic extremes of the valley are greater than in the coast region. 
The summers are hot, but the air is dry and the temperature is borne there- 
fore with less discomfort than the summer eastern weather. In this dry 
summer heat, the valley counties have a most valuable asset. It ripens crops 
earlier and forms saccharine in the fruit, while it enables the grower to dry 
it with the aid of the sun. The lack of humidity prevents dew at night and 
thus maintains the drying process by night and day. The humidity is at 
times as low as six percent, and while the mercury may register 110 degrees 
this temperature is felt less for discomfort than one twenty or thirty degrees 
lower in a region of humidity. This desiccating summer heat has made 
Fresno the world's raisin district, an extensive citrus fruit grower and a 
leader in sun-dried fruit. Sunstroke is as great a rarity as a snowstorm. 
The mean daily average maximum temperature from May to September is 
eighty-one degrees, and the mean minimum during the remaining period 
fifty-eight degrees. 

Experiment has demonstrated the existence of an orange belt extending 
practically the entire length of the eastern side of the valley from Bakersfield, 
in Kern County to Oroville, in Butte County. In this connection there is the 
interesting fact to be noted that oranges ripen earlier than in Southern 



54 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

California by one montii to six weeks, probably because the southern belt is 
not protected from the ocean winds and cooling fogs as the central is, and 
the growth and maturation of the fruit is slower. Latitude has apparently 
little influence on the climate. Near the coast there is in reality only a few 
degrees difiference between the northern and southern temperature, yet there 
is an earlier appearance of spring fruit, and in the ripening of oranges in the 
north than in the south. One must seek for other modifying local conditions 
in the ocean, the wind and in mountain barriers to account for the anomalous 
climatic variations. 

The semi-arid plains were once considered valuable only as stock ranges. 
Grain was sowed, but with disastrous results in dry years. An industrial 
change came about with irrigation, and great ranch tracts were subdivided 
into small ones, which could be better taken care of and yielded larger 
returns. Fresno County is proof of what irrigation will do and has done. 
It is one of the pioneer irrigated regions of the coast, the first experiment hav- 
ing been made in the early 70's near Fresno with four sections in wheat. 
Fresno is pointed out today as the typical California irrigation district. 

Describing this district system. Department of Agriculture Bulletin 237 
on "Irrigation in California" said of Fresno: "Considering its area, it is the 
most highly developed district in the state," It added: 

"Before the first irrigation of grain was attempted near Fresno, the land 
could scarcely be sold at $2.50 an acre, but as soon as the results of irriga- 
tion became known, land sales increased and twenty-five dollars to thirty 
dollars an acre was given freely for the raw land, which now when in decidu- 
ous trees or vines is worth $250 to $500 per acre. The citrus lands of the 
foothills that now sell for $1,500 to $2,000 per acre when in full bearing 
groves would be valueless without irrigation." 

California's great valley is exceptionally located and conditioned for 
a much larger population than it now supports. Encompassed as it is by 
mountains, the drainage channels converge at Carquinez straits, from which 
there is freightage with the world by deep sea vessels, receiving their car- 
goes "at the very door of the valley." It is maintained that when the Sacra- 
mento will have been navigably deepened to Red Bluff and the San Joaquin 
dredged and by a canal tied in with the more southern Tulare and Kern 
basins, the great region will be in a position to begin a supplemental devel- 
opment without bounds. The scheme has been given serious thought and 
tentative plans for it studied. To help out this water transportation project, 
the valley is at present served by two transcontinental railroads with num- 
erous feeders. 

The student of history cannot overlook the fact how little the waterways 
influenced the exploration and settlement of California, or even to aid in 
the transportation of crops. Save for irrigation, the streams of the state 
have not assisted inland development, excepting the lower Sacramento, the 
San Joaquin in the days gone by, and the smaller arms of San Francisco 
Bay. Yet the economic importance of the streams as sources of power to 
be developed for commercial and manufacturing enterprises cannot be ig- 
nored. The electric energy to be generated and transmitted to any point 
is limitless. There is a woeful waste of the flood waters, so that with the 
agricultural development of the valley for the greater population to come 
conservation is imperative, because even now the increased demands require 
such storage for use in summer, a time when water is needed most and 
is scarcest. 

Of the three largest rivers of the state, the San Joaquin-Sacramento is 
the most important irrigation water provider with its" many branches head- 
ing in the snow-covered Sierras. The Sacramento in the northern arm of the 
valley carries water in abundance, it is thought, for all future agricultural 
needs, besides navigability. The San Joaquin with the other streams of 
the southern arm carry not so much water as will be required for the larger 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 55 

area to be irrigated. The fuller development of this region, and of California 
for that matter, will be governed in large measure by careful and rational 
conservation of the forests and streams. The government has taken up this 
important subject. 

The Great Valley is well adapted for water transportation, and the 
statement is not such a wild flight of fancy that there will be a day when 
the natural water courses will have been deepened, and light draught vessels 
will dot the plains of the interior basin. There is no insurmountable en- 
gineering difficulty against a canal from Buena Vista Lake at the extreme 
southern end of the valley northwest through Tulare Lake and via the San 
Joaquin to tide-water. Indeed such a project in part was once in the air in 
Fresno County to connect Tulare Lake with the San Joaquin River. 

Articles of incorporation of the enterprise were filed, and the town- 
plat of Fresno City was recorded as on Fresno Slough, or the South Branch 
of the San Joaquin, by A. J. Downer as the agent for C. A. Hawley and 
W. B. Cuminings, on April 25, 1860. The plat pictured an ambitious town 
of eighty-nine blocks on both sides of the slough channel, located a mile or 
two "from what is today Tranquillity town in the big farm colony of that 
name. La Casa Blanca (White House") the principal structure of the town 
on paper, occupied as headquarters and the upper floor as a hotel, stood for 
years a landinark on the slough after the project was abandoned. 

About the time of this enterprise two men, Stone and Harvey, 
attempted to reach Tulare Lake with the small stern-wheeler, Alta, de- 
scended the San Joaquin and the Kings River Slough as far as Summit 
Lake, near the southern boundary line of the county and bordering on 
the Laguna de Tache grant, but there it was stranded in one* of the' slough 
branches and abandoned upon subsidence of the water in the slough by 
drainage consequent upon the dredging of the section nearest the San 
Joaquin, upon the proof of which labor land patent had issued. 

Noncompliance however with the law in other respects in the disposal 
of the reclaimed land resulted in successful litigation in San Francisco to 
void the patent, and the enterprise came to naught, leaving the stern-wheeler 
with its smoke-stack as another strange landmark to excite the curiosity of 
the mail-stage passenger and of the lone traveler or wanderer on the inhos- 
pitable and drear West Side plains. 

Later the stack was removed and did service for years for one of the 
steam sawmills in the mountain forests in the cotmty. 

The only craft that ever passed from Tulare Lake to tidewater was in 
1868, when Richard Swift took a small scow-boat, 16x18, through, loading 
it with a ton of honey at the mouth of Kings River, passing through Summit 
Lake and Fish Slough, thence through what was known as Fresno Slough 
into the San Joaquin. It was with the hope of the successful issue of the 
canal enterprise that on January 21, 1860, the steamboat, Visalia, was com- 
pleted on Tulare Lake for the navigation of the San Joaquin between Stock- 
ton and Fresno City, where the overland stages halted and near which at 
the head of Fresno Slough steamers landed freight up to a few years before 
the valley railroad extension from Lathrop. 

The 1911 agitation to open the river to navigation came to naught be- 
cause the government engineers reported that the traffic in promise would 
not warrant the expense of dredging and improving the river channel to 
make it navigable. At any rate the community succeeded some years later 
in doing away with the discriminatory terminal freight rate against Fresno 
and river navigation was left as a matter for agitation for future years. It 
is like harking back to the dim past to read the following newspaper publi- 
cation of forty years ago (June, 1878) of practically the last attempt at 
river navigation : 

"The steamer Clara Belle, Capt. Jack Greier, unloaded lumber and posts 
for Gustavus Herminghaus at Parker's old store, last Monday. This is only 



56 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

fourteen miles below the railroad on the San Joaquin at Sycamore and is the 
highest point on the river ever reached by steamer, and the only time a 
steamer has come up so far since 1867." 

And in explanation thereof the following: 

"Gustavus Herminghaus, who owns a very large tract of land bordering 
the San Joaquin River and the Fresno Slough, has already received 250,000 
feet of lumber by steamer, from San Francisco and will fence in some 15,000 
acres of fine grazing land. The fence will follow the line of surveyed road 
from White's to Fresno, and will force travel from its present and long used 
route along the river." 



CHAPTER VII 

"The Hell of '49". Manifested Shipments of Gold. Disputed 
Date of Discovery. No Hint in Legend or Tradition. All 
Flocked to the Mines. Previously Reported Finds. Val- 
leys Explored as Never Before. California Stampede 
Likened to that of the Crusader Days. A Wild and Reck- 
less Population Gathers. Some Figures on the Extra- 
ordinary Accessions by Land and Sea. Arrivals Far Ex- 
ceed Departures for the Years 1852 to 1856. 

Total manifested gold shipments from California ports via Panama from 
April, 1849, to the close of 1856, not including unascertained sums taken on 
privately, are given as $365,505,454. Estimated yield is reported as $596,- 
162,061. Known receipts from this state foot up $522,505,454, not including 
foreign shipments other than to England, nor quantity manufactured in the 
United States, indicating a state total yield after analysis of the figures of 
about $600,000,000. Estimate has been made that since discovery, gold bul- 
lion in an amount exceeding $1,500,000,000 in value has been produced in 
California. 

Singular it is that the exact date of Marshall's discovery near Coloma, 
on the south fork of the American River, should be a disputed question. • 
Hittell gives January 19, 1848. as the date. Bancroft says on Marshall's 
authority that the find was made between the 18th and 20th, but that the 
19th has generally been accepted as the date. Marshall was so confused as 
to time that Bancroft by other records fixed the day as the 24th. And yet 
the event has been ranked second only in importance to California's dis- 
covery and later settlement by the padres. 

A commission had been appointed by Gov. William D. Stephens of 
California under the authority of a legislative bill, the inspiration of that 
exclusively Californian fraternal order, of three members of the Native Sons 
of the Golden West, to make research of historical data to ascertain, if pos- 
sible, the date of the discovery of gold and also to correct the date of in- 
scription on Marshall's monument at Coloma. Under Assembly Concurrent 
Resolution No. 25 (42nd Session) the committee named by the governor, 
Phillip B. Bekeart representing the Pioneers of California, Fred H. Jung 
the N. S. G. W. and Grace S. Stoermer the N. D. G. W., made report 
October 15, 1918, based on entries in historical diaries, recorded statements 
and conclusions drawn therefrom, to find that January 24, 1848, and not the 
19th, is the correct date of the discovery of gold in California and to recom- 
mend that the inscription on the monument of Marshall at Coloma in El 
Dorado County be corrected accordingly. 

Little dreamed the Mexicans of the value of the land they ceded, other 
than as to its probable future value commercially. As little, the buyers- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 57 

how fat the soil with wealth untold and that rivers flowed over golden beds. 
Between the discovery and cession periods of the territory, many examina- 
tions were made by enterprising and inquisitive officers and civilians, but 
none discovered that the Sierra Nevada streams poured golden sands into 
the valleys of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin. No hint of it in legend 
or tradition was learned from white or red man. As Historian John Frost 
remarks: "A nation's ransom lay within their grasp but strange to say it 
escaped their notice — it flashed and sparkled all in vain." Capt. Sutter, 
despite a residence of ten years in the vicinity of the discovered placer re- 
gions, was none the richer or wiser for the treasure about him lightly 
concealed under the surface soil. 

It is a remarkable fact, which has been more or less commented upon, 
that with the insatiable greed for gold the Spaniard, and those that followed 
him, never made investigation to ascertain the existence or non-existence 
of it, or that if they did and made discovery that the secret was kept invio- 
late. The fact is, however, that the existence of gold was unknown by them 
and the Indians. The latter had no golden ornaments — in fact did not know 
of the value of gold, until the white man taught him it in barter at the 
trading post stores, and then further presumed on his ignorance by exchang- 
ing gold ounce for commodity or whiskey ounce, glass bottle included. 

Governmental examinations had been made but no discoveries of 
minerals resulted. True, there was conjecture that from the region's un- 
doubted volcanic origin and peculiar geological features gold or other valu- 
able mineral deposits might exist. Chance disclosed what inquiry had failed 
to reveal, and in a few weeks California was agitated to fever heat, nearly 
all the population became infected and flocked to the mines. By August 
some 4,000 people, including Indians, were washing the river sands and 
gravel for gold, the washings confined to the low wet grounds and the 
margins of the streams and the daily yields from ten dollars to fifty dollars 
per man but often much exceeded. 

Every stream in the valleys came under scrutiny. Gold was found on 
almost every tributary of the Sacramento, and the richest earth on the 
Feather and its branches, the Yuba and the Bear, and on Weber's creek, a 
tributary of the American fork. Prospectings in the valley of the San Joa- 
quin also resulted, but later, in gold discoveries on the Cosumnes, the San 
Joaquin, Fresno, Chowchilla, Merced and Tuolumne, besides in lesser quan- 
tities in the ravines of the western Coast Range as far as Los Angeles. 

The valleys were explored as never before, and with the spread of the 
contagion man came to know the San Joaquin Y'alley, up to now the stamp- 
ing ground of wild Indians and outlaws, the grazing ranges of immense herds- 
of" elk, antelope and wild mustangs, with the plains in their wake foot- 
printed by the stalking grizzly bear and the loping coyote. The territory 
now comprising Fresno County was absolutely unknown and with state 
government was yet to be a part of Mariposa until independent county 
organization in April, 1856. 

There had been reports of gold discoveries before Marshall's, but if 
true they created little more than local stirs and did not come to the knowl- 
edge of the enterprising and wide awake Americans. That Capt. J. D. Smith 
found gold in 1826 on his first crossing of the Sierras "near Mono Lake"' 
may be true, but if he did it was on the eastern side of the range. In 1841 
gold was found in Santa Clara County on Piru Creek, a branch of the Santa 
Clara, but the find in March, 1842, at San Francisquito near Los Angeles, as- 
mentioned elsewhere, was a genuine one, and it may be said that consider- 
able gold was extracted in all the region from the Santa Clara River to- 
Mount San Bernardino. 

In greater or lesser quantity, it has been found in almost every part 
of the state, but nowhere and never in such deposits as on the westenr 
slope of the Sierras in the quartz veins, in the gravel and clay of ancient 



58 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

river beds and in the channels of existing streams. It is another remarkable 
fact that geology has not been able to explain that gold should be found on 
the one side and silver on the other of the Sierras. The gold occurs in virgin 
state, the silver in various ores. The western slope of the Sierras rich in 
gold, the eastern in silver, the Coast range is equally rich in quicksilver in 
red cinnabar, especially at New Almaden (1845) south of San Jose, later 
found at New Idria in San Benito (in a corner formerly of Fresno) and 
about St. Helena in Napa County. 

There never was and has not been since, in history, such a stampede 
as was started by the discovery at Coloma. In twelve months it attracted to 
California more than 100,000 people of all nationalities, and commerce 
sprang up with China, Mexico, Chili and Australia, while yet in govern- 
mental confusion. The world was wild and delirious, and while only another 
remarkable incident in the state's history, it did hasten as no other event 
could have the assumption of state sovereignty and the development so cer- 
tain to follow acquisition of the land. There was a wild scramble for the 
mines, the daily gold accumulations ranged from $30,000 to $50,000, the 
discovery wrought a marvelous and almost incredible change in the char- 
acter of the country, laborers, professionals and tradesmen tramped the 
crowded trail for mountain gulch or ravine, soldier and sailor deserted, and 
there vtas a social upheaval with excesses and lawlessness for a time, with 
labor commanding fabulous wages and prices of commodities and foodstuffs 
prohibitive, even when they could be had. The exodus to California has 
for its magnitude been likened to that of the Crusades of the Middle Ages. 
The Annals of San Francisco, published in 1854, records that there was 
soon gathered a mixed population of the "wildest, bravest, most intelligent 
yet most reckless and perhaps dangerous beings ever collected into one small 
district of country." Thousands came after the American occupation not 
to stay but to pick up a fortune quickly and return home. It was no longer 
the place "for a slow, an overcautious or a desponding man." 

California was in complication over land and mining claims. The Indian 
resented the taking of his hunting grounds by the miners, and with the 
uncertainty of things the old regime bewailed the coming of the Gringo, 
and lamented the discovery that attracted the horde as a green pasture field 
does the locust or the grasshopper. The dreamy days at the haciendas, life 
at the old missions with the patriarchal padres, all the idle days were no 
more. A feverish excitement prevailed with gambling, drunkenness, horse- 
racing and stealing, claim jumping and worse things. The days of '49 "be- 
held one of the most reckless, heterogeneous societies ever brought together." 

In January, 1849, according to a memorial of Senators Gwin and Fre- 
mont to Congress, while waiting for the state's admission to take their seats, 
the estimated population was : 

Californians, 13,000; Americans, 8,000; Foreigners, 5,000; Total, 26,000. 

As a result of the gold find, a population of at least 107,000 was claimed 
for the state as follows ; 

Estimate as above 13,000 

Pacific ports sea and Sonora land arrivals 

January-April '49 8,000 

San Francisco sea arrivals, April-December 

1849 29,000 

Other ports 1,000 

Southern overland 8,000 

From Mexico 7,000 

Deserting sailors 3,000 

• Overland via Salt Lake 25,000 

Total 107,000 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 59 

All enumerations of the day may be accepted as inflations and little 
better than wild-eyed estimates because of the shifting character of the popu- 
lation as well as because of the other difficulties in making any reliable can- 
vass. The variance of the various reported figures is irreconcilable. The 
figures emphasize though the immensity of the Californiaward movement of 
the day. The world had been inoculated with the gold fever, California had 
a heterogeneous population, but no government, save the makeshift authority 
exercised by a small and utterly inadequate military force. 

California had leaped into world wide importance with Marshall's dis- 
covery of gold in that mill race on that disputed January day in 1848. The 
excitement and immigration and the insistent demand for a state government 
furnish a chapter in history without like in the world. Somewhere someone 
has written that the brilliant audacity of California's methods for admission 
into the union is without parallel in the nation's history. Brilliantly audacious 
it was, truly, but only characteristic of California and the Californians and of 
the abnormal condition of the times. 

Minerva, the mythological goddess typical of endowment of mind and 
prominent and distinctive as the figure in the foreground of the Great Seal 
of California, is emblematic and illustrative of its sudden springing into the 
maturity of statehood as no other before or since of the United States of 
America. 



CHAPTER VIII 

First Reports From Mines Excite Incredulity. Official Confir- 
mation IS Given Them. Colonel Mason's Extravagant Idea 
OF Figures. Everybody in the East Talked California, and 
Prepared for the Grand Rush. The Placers are Visited 
AND Reported on. State Geologist Trask's Prophecies. 
Fresno's Camps of the Southern Mines. Early Pros- 
pectors Were a Restless Lot. First Local Mining Settle- 
ments. Variations in Gold Dust \^aluations. 

First reports from Coloma and other placers excited general incredulity. 
The California Star on March 25, 1849, announced that gold dust was an 
article of traffic at Sutter's Fort. In size and character of nuggets the mines 
were pronounced much richer than the fields of Georgia, where gold was 
first discovered in the United States, also more so than anything ever placered 
in Mexico. A half pound parcel offered in San Francisco, in April, in pay- 
ment for provisions was accepted at eight dollars per ounce, and the store 
was stampeded to stare on the golden dust. On ^lay 29, the Californian, 
and on June 14, the Star suspended, because the printers had vamoosed for 
the mines. Every sacrifice was being made to reach the mines. 

Thomas O. Larkin, who had been consul at Monterey and secret agent 
of the government in the intrigue for the acquisition of California, wrote 
to Secretary of State James Buchanan, at Washington on June 1, 1848, de- 
scribing conditions at San Francisco, from which then 200 to 300 had gone 
to the mines out of a population, according to the census of August, 1847, 
of 459, exclusive of the military and the Mission Dolores, and that about 
$20,000 of dust had been exchanged for merchandise. Half the houses in the 
town were closed. Spades and shovels that sold for one dollar commanded 
ten dollars each in the mines. 

In a second letter from Monterey of June 28, Larkin wrote that he had 
visited the mines and found them all and more than he had anticipated. 
Miners were scattered over one hundred miles of country from the Sacra- 



60 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

mento to the San Joaquin, between which the placers extended. According 
to the best estimates, there were then 2,000 people at the mines, nine-tenths of 
them foreigners. Larkin believed that a few "thousand people in one hundred 
miles square of the Sacramento would yearly turn out the price that the 
United States was to pay for the new territory." Three-fourths of the houses 
in San Francisco were then empty, and were being sold for the cost price 
of the land. Even Monterey, sleeping the sleep of a Rip Van Winkle, had 
caught the infection. 

The gold discovery had been made during the governorship of Colonel 
Mason, who on June 17, from Monterey, accompanied by Lieutenant Sher- 
man, visited the mines, finding en route San Francisco almost deserted and 
everything going to waste and idle until arrival at Sutter's Fort on July 2, 
where there was life and business bustle. Mason visited the Lower mines at 
Mormon Diggings on the American River, where 200 men were at work. At 
Coloma. a little more than three months after the discovery, upwards of 4,000 
were mining. Gold dust was abundant in everybody's hands. He estimated 
that the yield from the mines was from $30,000 to $50,000 daily, and as they 
were on public land he seriously debated whether or not to secure a reasonable 
fee for mining. He resolved not to interfere unless broils and crime demanded. 
Crime was infrequent though in the mines, and theft and robbery unknown 
in the early period, despite the insecure deposit places for treasure. 

Mason was carried away by the excitement, and while acknowledging 
in an official letter to the adjutant genera! that he could not earlier bring him- 
self to believe the reports concerning the wealth of the gold district he wrote: 

"I have no hesitation now in saying that there is more gold in the country 
drained by the Sacramento and the San Joaquin Rivers than will pay the 
cost of the present war with Mexico a hundred times over." 

No capital was required to obtain gold, as the laboring man required 
nothing but pick and shovel and tin pan with which to dig and wash the 
gravel, and many frequently picked gold in pieces of from one to six ounces 
out of the crevices of the rocks with butcher knives. 

Mason's letter was published with President Polk's congressional mes- 
sage of December, 1848, and with the exhibited gold and cinnabar specimens 
from New Almaden. sent on by special messenger, the news was spread in 
official and authoritative form. The gold assayed over eighteen dollars an 
ounce. 

In a letter to Commodore Jones at ^lazatlan. Mason wrote that, treaty 
or no treaty, the gold discovery had decided California's destiny, and he 
raised his estimate that the yield would pay the war cost 500 times over. The 
war appropriation was $10,000,000, with $15,000,000 as the consideration for 
the land cession and $3,000,000 assumed as a damage debt due Americans, 
a total of $28,000,000, saving nothing of other expenses of the war. 100 times 
$28,000,000 equals $2,800,000,000. 500 times $28,000,000 equals $14,000,000,000. 
Mason was a little off on his figures : so was Larkin. 

Many foreigners were at work at the mines, so many that certain locali- 
ties were named after nationalities. The collection of the foreign miner's 
tax, afterward repealed, caused not a little friction, but the reported race 
hostility against the foreigner was exaggerated. Until the government should 
act in the matter, which it never did. General Riley upon his later visit said 
he would not disturb anyone in mining, nor would he countenance one class 
attempting to monopolize the workings of a mine or drive out any other. 

The earliest important notice of the discovery was published in the 
Baltimore Sun of September 20, 1848, by which time private letters were 
arriving telling of the wonderful story. Soon all the newspapers were full 
of the subject and consignments of gold confirmed the tidings. Everybody 
talked California. The adventurous prepared for a general grand rush by 
land and sea, by latter route long before the great overland tide of '49 began. 
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company organized in April, 1848, and its first 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 61 

steamer on the semi-monthly route between Panama and Astoria via San 
Francisco was the CaHfornia, which arrived at San Francisco on February 
18, 1849. 

The early influx in the emigration flood to the gold placers was of 
Mexicans from Sonora, then Chilians and some Chinese. These assembled 
principally in the Southern Mines, which included the San Joaquin and its 
tributaries at the lower extremity of the Mother Lode originating in Mari- 
posa County. Colonel Mason so much feared wholesale desertion of the 
garrisons that in contemplation of the thought that the laborer earned in 
the mines in a day more than double a soldier's pay and allowances for a 
month he added in a report: "I really think some extraordinary mark of favor 
should be given to those soldiers who remain faithful to their flag through 
this tempting crisis." 

During the latter nine months in 1849, 233 vessels arrived in San Fran- 
cisco from United States ports, besides 316 from foreign ports — a total of 
549, averaging two daily and many unseaworthy, veritable "floating coffins." 
The overland caravans started in spring began to arrive in a continuous 
stream almost across the continent, and crossing the Sierras landed for 
a few years their human freight in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys 
to scatter over the country. A great and unparalleled spectacle was this 
immigration of 1849. 

NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN MINES 

In July, 1849, General Riley visited the mining regions by way of San 
Juan Bautista, crossing the San Joaquin near the mouth of the Merced and 
examining the principal camps on the Tuolumne and Stanislaus and their 
tributaries, then those on the Calaveras, Mokelumne, Cosumnes and 
American, returning to Monterey by way of Stockton. The mining country 
had by this time been divided in two sections, commonly known as the 
Northern and the Southern Mines. Sutter's Fort, or Sacramento, was the 
interior point from which the Northern Mines were reached, and Stockton, 
the new settlement on Mormon Slough of the San Joaquin, for the Southern, 
being also the distributing points for the districts and both accessible from 
San Francisco by water. The traffic was enormous. The rivers, naturally 
clear streams, had already commenced to become turbid, but they had deep, 
well-defined channels and navigation for vessels of considerable draught 
was as yet easy. 

Many of the mining camps in the Sierra foothills became little towns, 
some to be abandoned with the impoverishment of the placers, others to 
advance from tent aggregations to villages of rough boarded houses, and yet 
others to permanency as towns. Not a few as in the San Joaquin Valley 
that had arisen to the dignity of county seats lost in time even that distinction 
with the advent of the railroad and the removal of the seat and were aban- 
doned as in Merced, Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties. 

In 1856 Dr. Trask, the state geologist, reported that mining was suc- 
cessfully prosecuted in twenty-three counties. The aggregate area in which 
gold was known to exist was estimated at from 11,000 to 15,000 square miles, 
adding that "when this is compared with the area actually occupied (prob- 
ably not exceeding 400 square miles and one-fourth of these old placers") 
the latter will be found to comprise a mere mite of our available resources. 
With our present population of the mining districts and the broad expanse 
of territory over which they are spread, they appear like mere specks dotting 
the surface of an inland sea, so indistinct as scarcely to be appreciable on 
the broad expanse by which they are surrounded." Trask described the 
gold region as extending from the Oregon line north to the Kern River 
south — 460 miles long by from ten to 150 in width, and he classified the 
region into three distinct ranges — the Upper or Eastern, the Middle Placers 



62 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

and tlie \'alley mines. It was in the second range that the greater proportion 
of the mining community was located, more particularly in the central and 
eastern portions. The third range comprised the districts among the foot- 
hills extending westward into the eastern edge of the plains of the San 
Joaquin and Sacramento three to five miles and having a linear distance of 
about 250 miles. 

The valley mines were on what constituted the high terraces of the 
plains composed mostly of alluvial drift. They were the most shallow of 
any of the discovered ranges and the most easily worked, though nearly 
coextensive with the middle or upper districts, and falling little short of 
the latter. In a review of the ranges, Trask said incidentally: "It will be seen 
that we have still enough and to spare for all who are present, and for all 
that may hereafter arrive, for at least the next half century. There need be 
but little fear of their failing to yield their annual crop of gold, as long, 
perhaps, as our valleys will yield their crops of grain." 

The placers in the Fresno region were almost at the extremity of the 
Southern Mines. The accepted dividing line between the Northern and 
Southern Mines was the ridge on the north side of the north fork of the 
Mokelumne. All the rivers of the Southern Mines were tributaries of the 
San Joaquin. In extent of territory, population and yield, the Southern 
were almost the equal of the Northern mines in the early period, but they 
"petered out" more rapidly, and in a few years were comparatively ex- 
hausted, except for quartz outcroppings, and were favored by the Chinese 
and Indians more. 

The rivers of this southern mining region were the Mokelumne, Cala- 
veras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, ]\Ierced and tlie San Joaquin (in the foothills 
and mountains), with their forks. Spots in favorable locations along the 
creeks as far south as the San Joaquin, where it comes down in a westerly 
direction from the Sierras, repaid the miners with good returns, but neither 
the placers nor the quartz veins were comparable with those further north. 
The fact is the mines in this locality gave out at the San Joaquin, as they 
did in the north where the Pitt River, tributary of the Sacramento, came 
from the same mountain chain, and yet according to general tradition Miller- 
ton on the San Joaquin in its palmy days of 1853 of the mining period was 
as lively a miner's village with as many saloons and as much drinking, as 
much gambling and as much roistering as any, isolated as it was in a pocket 
of the foothills out of the line of travel. 

The gathered gold in gravels and sands was not of uniform value, size 
or shape. The variance was so great that an expert could readily distinguish 
them. The poorest usually came from the Kern River, much mixed with 
silver. It improved in Fresno County, and even here the gold varied much. 
It was better in Mariposa, and had a high standard in Tuolumne, Stanislaus 
and Calaveras. The main original deposits were in quartz or limestone 
veins on the western slope of the Sierras at elevations of 1,000 to 4,000 or 5,000 
feet above sea level, and the chief of these was the Mother Lode, traceable at 
or near the surface, from Mariposa to Amador County with frequent branch 
veins. The Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Mokelumne Rivers, with 
some of their tributaries, cut the lode at points where it branched, eroding 
the quartz veins and depositing the gold down stream far or near. 

REMEMBERED EARLIEST CAMPS 

Among the best remembered earliest mining camps in the northeastern 
Fresno County region were Coarse Gold Gulch, discovered in the summer 
of 1850, Texas Flat, Grub Gulch, Hildreth, Fine Gold Gulch, Temperance 
Flat, Rootville the immediate predecessor of Millerton on the San Joaquin 
and one mile below the fort, "Soldier Bar" and "Cassady's Bar" on the bend 
of the river above the fort. The channel of the river with its small tribu- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 63 

taries from the bridge at Hamptonville, below Millerton, was worked for 
forty miles up into the mountains. The Kings, which contributes to the 
wealth of the county as the provider of the water for irrigation and has its 
rise as high in the Sierras as the San Joaquin, has never witnessed any 
mining operations, though some placer mining was once upon a time con- 
ducted at or near what is now known as Piedra where the magnesite mine 
in an entire mountain is located. Quartz locations on its banks have been 
made many times, though no notable mine has been developed. 

It is conceded that during the early mining period, as well as in subse- 
quent years and as late as the 70"s and up to the 80's the gold placers and 
the surface outcroppings were well worked over and exhausted. No portion 
of the county but has been prospected by the grub-stake miner. Discoveries 
are being made to this day and quartz mine locations are frequent occur- 
rences. Even the old mining district boundary lines are adhered to as a 
reminder of the past. These locations prove to be little more than chance 
discoveries of pockets or vein outcroppings, raising great expectations 
with no realization save in a few exceptions. No systematic development of 
the mineral deposits has followed for self evident reasons in the too great 
risk of investment, cost of or lack of transportation and remoteness of the 
locations. 

A marked map of the county would show it peppered in spots as remote 
and inaccessible as the upper precipitous gulches of the Kings River forks 
with mining locations and punctured with prospects holes and developing 
tunnel openings with their dumps. Late in the 70's there was sporadic 
effort at a development of quartz mines, but no rich or lasting ones resulted 
from the labor and money investments. Even the picturesque and extrava- 
gant names of the most notable of these have passed from memory. On the 
Madera side of the river in the drift gold gulches districts of earliest days 
several mills were erected, but the life of the enterprises was evanescent. In 
the end they were all money losers, encouraging though the first prospects. 
The names of them if recalled are reminders of wasted effort and misspent 
money. Not all were absolute failures, though all were abandoned and are 
only memories now. The number of them spells legion. 

In Grub Gulch district was the Josephine, owned by an English syndi- 
cate, fourteen miles northeast from Raymond, located in 1880; also Les 
Mines d'Or de Quartz ]\Iountain, a Belgian corporation that sank, without 
any returns, a fortune of the stockholders in erecting and locating a costly 
plant that has been idle for many years in charge of a watchman and given 
over to the bats and owls. The Raymond quarries have furnished granite 
for the state buildings at Sacramento, for miles upon miles of street curbing 
in San Francisco and after a period of comparative inactivity were drawn 
heavily upon for the rebuilding of the San Francisco public and other build- 
ings after the great disaster, and the later Panama Exposition. The quarries 
at Academy in this county have and are furnishing granite rock for orna- 
mental architecture and grave stones and monuments. In the inaccessible 
Minarets section, north of the San Joaquin there are said to be on the south- 
ern slope inexhaustible iron deposits in practically a mountain of almost pure 
metal, one of the known largest and richest iron ore deposits in the world. 
The Kniepper copper mine, in the Big Dry Creek district, was later 
developed as the Fresno, and a first successful development of a copper 
ledge was that of the Ne Plus Ultra, on the Daulton ranch on the Madera 
side and it actuall}' for a time sent mats to Swansea, Eng., for refining. It 
paid for a time but in the end petered out and another costly experiment 
was charged up to experience and corresponding loss. It was never resus- 
citated, evidence, however promising its fair prospects, that the jig was 
up. The Copper King and the Fresno copper mines near Clovis swallowed 
up small fortunes in exploitation and extravagant management. 

The Copper King, originally the Heiskell mine, cost the British share- 



64 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

holders $400,000 in the exploitation. Under the spectacular regime of 
Manager Daley, an F. F. V., there was a move to erect smelter works, but 
neighboring fruit growers blocked it by injunction. Expensive tractors were 
operated to convey ore to the railroad station, and were abandoned after 
arousing the opposition of the county supervisors because of the damage 
in cutting up the roads. Luxurious quarters were fitted up for the manager, 
provided with electric lights, porcelain baths and other costly appurtenances. 
The story is also authenticated that at the Palace Hotel grill in San Fran- 
cisco the manager would order three canvas-back ducks, and enriching the 
third with the sanguinary juices of two of them as extracted in the grilling, 
feast solely on the breast meat of that costly third bird, with a five-dollar 
bottle of champagne as accompanying beverage. The high priced machinery 
and tractors were "after the burst up" sold for old junk, and years later a 
nice profit was made by speculators, who bought up the ore on the neglected 
dump-pile when copper jumped up to twenty-six cents a pound with the 
demands on account of the war in Europe. The Copper King property has 
been taken over by a Texas corporation, organized in 1917, which having 
transferred its interest to California incorporators, the latter will operate it 
under a lease and royalty arrangement with option to buy after a given time 
for a stipulated price. It resumed operations in January, 1918, after long 
years of inactivity. 

As late as 1865 gold dust was the medium of circulation in Fresno, 
rather than coin, as the Civil War had created a scarcity in circulated metal- 
lic coin and paper money being a curiosity and practically unknown in 
California even for many years thereafter. 

Property values were estimated in ounces of pure gold rather than 
in dollars and cents. Gold dust was acceptable for taxes by special authority 
of the supervisors, and in business according to valuations as per this 
publication on March 8, 1865, in the ]\IiIlerton Times: 

NOTICE 

On and after the 1st of March, 1865, we, the undersigned, pledge ourselves to receive 
and pav out GOLD DUST at the following rates only: 

San Joaquin River or Bar dust, where it is not mixed with other dust, at $15.50 
per ounce. 

Fine Gold Gulch, Cottonwood, Long Gulch, and all taken out in small gulches between 
the San Joaquin and Fresno Rivers (except Coarse Gold Gulch) at $14 per ounce. 

Coarse Gold Gulch dust at $16.50. 

Big Dry Creek at $16.50. 

Temperance Flat dust, and dust taken out at the head of Little Drv' Creek, at $14. 

Sycamore Creek dust, free from quicksilver and not mixed with other dust, at $17.50. 

Fresno River dust, taken out below McKeown's store at $15.50. 

The above rates are as near as we can come at the value of the various kinds of dust 
in gold coin, and after this date, we do not intend to receive or pay out anything that is 
not equal in value to United States gold or silver coin. 

(Signed) : Geo. Grierson & Co.. J. R. Jones, Lewis Leach, James Urquhart, Ira 
McCray, Wm. Faymonville, Wm. Fielding, S. W. Henry, Robert Abbott, C. F. Walker, 
T. A. Long, Jno. White, Thos. Simpson, W. Krug, Geo. S. Palmer, Clark Hoxie, S. T. 
Garrison, T. C. Stallo, W. S. Wyatt, S. Gaster, J. Linnebacker, Geo. McClelland, J. R. 
Barklev, Henry Henricie, Chas. A. Hart, Tong Sing, Hop W^o, Daniel Brannan, H. W. 
Clark, D. H. Miller, C. P. Converse, L. M. Mathews, C. G. Sayle, Ira Stroud. 

There were 138 quartz mills in operation in the state in 1856 — eighty-six 
propelled by water, forty-eight by steam and four by horse power, moving 
1,521 stamps. The cost of the machinery was $1,763,000. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 65 



CHAPTER IX 

Practical Disappearance of the Indian. He Was in the Lowest 
Scale as a Human Being. Characteristics of Valley 
Tribes. Gentle and Friendly in Disposition. Polygamy 
Was Not Uncommon. At Starvation Point Following 
Reservation Liberation After the 1850-51 Uprising. Six- 
teen Tribes Signed the Treaty of Peace of 1851 in Fresno. 

Kit Carson, the scout, said that in 1829 the valleys of California were 
alive with Indians. On again visiting the territory in 1839, they had measur- 
ably disappeared. In 1851. James D. Savage, of whom more anon, gave the 
number of Indians on the coast as 83,000, an inflated figure, as were all the 
census estimates on Indians. 

In October, 1856, the number of Indians on the reservations was reported 
to be: 

Klamath, 2,500; Nome Lacke, 2,000; Mendocino, 500; Nome Cult, 3,000; 
Fresno and Kings River, 1,300; Tejon, 700: total 10,000. 

Today the redman has practically disappeared from the haunts where he 
was on-ce most numerous. It is a repetition of the old story with this doomed, 
unfortunate race. The passing of the Indian was hastened on by the gold 
diggers and the first settlers. He was an inoffensive being, but he was in the 
way of the white man, and the latter did not seek far or long for cause or 
reason to put him out of the way. 

The California Indian was a nomad, moving with the seasons in the 
search for food, subsisting on acorns, seeds, berries and nuts, roots, fungi and 
herbs, fish, fowl and game — in fact nothing was overlooked as a diet. Grass- 
hoppers, worms and the larvae of ants and insects were delicacies, and mus- 
tang horse flesh a dainty. Along the coast, sea-fish and mollusks were im- 
portant dietary additions, and a dead, stranded whale was a prize to warrant 
general feasting. They lived in the most primitive habitations, dressed in 
skins, or woven bark or grass fibre, and used stone implements. The women 
did all the laborious work and wove beautiful baskets. 

While the tribal individuals bore a general resemblance, there was a 
remarkable diversity in language. Their racial origin is an interesting prob- 
lem. Living in a pleasant clime, with the food supply abundant in ordinary 
years and demanding no great exertion to procure — and then by the slavish 
squaws — the Indian was an indolent, shiftless creature, and there is a general 
consensus that in California he represented the lowest scale of human develop- 
ment. He did not take kindly to the labor of the civilization that the padres 
enforced, wherefore the frequent uprisings. With the confinement that they 
were subjected to in the close mission buildings, herded like so many cattle, 
and in the general demoralizing association with the whites, their decimation 
was rapid enough. 

At the close of 1802, the Indian population at the eighteen missions is 
placed at 7,945 males and 7,617 females. In 1831 it was placed at 18,683, and 
in 1845 the estimate was that, while the white population had increased to 
about 8,000, the domesticated Indians, who twelve years before numbered 
close to 30,000, scarcely represented one-third of that number. There are no 
statistics of the wild Indians — gentiles as the Spaniards called them. Guesses 
ranged from 100.000 to 300,000. Yet another classification was made. .A.11 
save Indians were gente de razon — rational people — in contradistinction to 
the natives, who were considered only as beasts — unable to reason. 

The secularization of the missions with the return of the neophytes to 



66 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

savagery and wretchedness was their perdition. It also marked the decline of 
ecclesiastical power and influence in California. But no material loss was 
suffered by the Indians. They were no worse oflf than under the mission sys- 
tem, which held them as slaves, abject and groveling-. The missions them- 
selves and the missionaries were the relic of a medieval age, and long had 
outlived their usefulness. 

In 1856, when Fresno was organized as a county there were six reserva- 
tions in the state under the superintendency of T. J. Henley. The Fresno 
and Kings River farms were, in this county, on the streams so named. They 
were established in 1854 and covered about 2,000 acres in extent, 1,000 under 
cultivation to wheat, barley and vegetables. The Indians gathered on the 
two farms numbered 1,300. M. B. Lewis was sub-agent of the Fresno reser- 
vation, with E. P. Hart as foreman, appointed in July, 1856, at $1,500 and 
$1,200 salaries, with J. B. Folsom as chief hunter. William J. Campbell was 
sub-agent at the other farm with one "Jndge" John G. Marvin as quarter- 
master furnishing all the supplies, Charles A. Hart his wagonmaster and D. 
J. Johnson an employe. 

The number within the state jurisdiction was estimated at 61,600, of 
which 16,000 were on the reservations in March. 1857. Cost of maintenance 
in the state for 1855 was $236,000 and for 1856 $358,000. The idea of making 
treaties with them or "recognizing in any way the rights they claim to the 
soil" was a policy "rejected entirely" by the department, and according to 
Henley his wards were everywhere highl}' pleased with the policy proposed, 
"except in locations where malicious or interested persons have by false 
representations prejudiced them against it." 

Henley was severe against this class, asserting that it had been "the 
cause of most of the Indian difficulties which had up to then occurred in the 
state," and that in "almost all cases where the Indians have been guilty of 
aggressions it has been to avenge some outrage committed upon them by the 
class of persons in question." 

The late Galen Clark, who in 1854 mined in Mariposa, assisted in govern- 
ment surveying of west side San Joaquin Valley land and of canals for 
mining in the celebrated Mariposa Grant, who first visited the Yosemite in 
1855 and in 1857 on a hunting trip discovered the Mariposa grove of big 
trees, for twenty-four years was the state guardian of the Yosemite Valley, 
and lies buried near Yosemite Falls, where, with his own hands, he dug his 
grave and quarried his own tombstone, came, by reason of his long associa- 
tions, to know much of the traditions and customs of the Indians of Yosemite 
and of the tribes that once peopled this valley. 

According to this authority, the tribes in the region of the Yosemite were 
affiliated by blood or intermarriage relationship. Before the coming of the 
whites, they had defined tribal hunting limits, though the higher Sierras were 
common ground. There was reciprocal barter between them, as on the west 
with the Paiutes on the east side of the range, in salt blocks from ]\lono Lake, 
and with the Mission Indians on the coast, in hunting knives and shells for 
ornament or money, beads, blankets and the like. They had an efficient 
relay courier system for 100 miles for the transmission of news, and a signal 
code with fire by night and smoke by day. Their winter conical huts, holding 
a family of six with all property, canines included, and with a fire in the 
center, were covered with cedar bark and had entrance on the south side. 
In summer brush arbors were occupied, the winter huts used for storage. 

Their clothing before the reservation period was scant. Young children 
went naked. Males wore a skin breech-clout or short skirt; females, a deer 
skin skirt from waist to knees, at times fringed or fancily decorated. Both 
sexes wore deer or elk skin moccasins. 

Clark said of the Sierra tribes that "They are naturally of a gentle and 
friendly disposition, but their experience with the white man has made them 
distant and uncommunicative to strangers." And "as a rule also thev are 



HISTORY OF FRESxNO COUNTY 67 

trustworthy, and when confidence is placed in their honesty it is very rarely 
betrayed." 

Large game they hunted with the bow and obsidian arrowheads. They 
followed the stealthy still hunt, or went on the general hunt, covering a 
large area and driving the game to a common center for indiscriminate slaugh- 
ter. Fish was caught with line and bone hook, with single bone tine spear, 
by weir traps in stream, or scooped out in baskets after polluting the water 
with soap-root plant juice. Acorns constituted the main staple breadstuff, 
the nut ground to a meal and the bitter tannin laboriously leached out of the 
thin gruel poured out in clean sand. The dog was the only domestic animal. 

The Indians of the Yosemite region were of religious or superstitious 
temperament, devout in their beliefs and observances, and easily worked 
upon by their medicine men. They had elaborate symbolic ceremonies with 
dancing an important feature. Both sexes took part, but they never danced 
as a recreation. The ceremonial around a fire was accompanied by drum beat- 
ing and a monotonous chant, the dancer circling until falling exhausted. The 
great dance occasions were before going to war and when cremating the dead. 
They had also tribal festival gatherings. 

Polygamy was not uncommon among the Mariposa and other county 
Indians, with two and three and even more wives. Chiefs and headmen 
established relations of amity with other tribes b}- taking wives out of them. 
The young wife was bought, payment for the chattel constituting a chief part 
of the marriage ceremonial, and the wife becoming personal property to be 
sold or gambled awav according to the mood. Clark says that in the mar- 
riage relation the Indian was as a rule strictly faithful. If the woman was 
found to be unfaithful, the penalty was death. Man whipping or wife beating 
were unknown, whipping was not resorted to even for disobedience by chil- 
dren, being considered a more humiliating and disgraceful punishment than 
death. Disobedience was a fault rare among children. 

It is Clark, who is authority for the statement, that after the 18.^0-51 
hostilities and liberation after four years of confinement on the reservations 
— the YoSemites and other tribes on and north of the San Joaquin placed on 
the Fresno reservation and those south of the river on the Kings and Tejon 
reservations — with tribal relations and customs almost broken up, the food 
supply reduced with the settlement of the country, life was more precarious 
and many at times were near the starvation point. 

"In these straitened and desperate circumstances," recites Clark, in a pub- 
lication of 1904, "many of their young women were used as commercial prop- 
erty and peddled out to the mining camps and gambling saloons for money to 
buy food, clothing or whiskey, this latter article being obtained through some 
white person in violation of the law." 

The universal practice was among the Sierra foothill tribes to burn 
the bodies of the dead with their effects and votive offerings. This was a 
semi-religious practice to cheat the evil spirit of his prey in the spirit or 
soul, the body being burned to set the soul free the sooner to the happier 
spirit world. In later years the-burial custom of the whites was adopted, but 
the things that were once burned as offerings were cut into fragments before 
burial, lest some white desecrate the grave by digging them up. These Dig- 
gers — a name given them in derision because not good fighters and from the 
practice of digging for tuberous roots of plants for food — held such sacred 
reverence for the dead that after reservation liberation they impoverished 
themselves for years by burning their best belongings at the annual mourning 
festivals. One of their beliefs was that the spirits of the bad served another 
earth life in the grizzly bear as punishment for misdeeds, wherefor no Indian 
would knowingly eat bear meat. In certain lines of artistic work, the Diggers 
excelled all others, notably in basket work and how and arrows, which were 
of superior workmanship and fine finish. 

A great fund of mythological lore was in their possession, handed down 



68 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

orally from generation to generation, hut they were reluctant to tell the whites 
these often pretty and poetical legends. 

The warlike valley tribes were the Tulareans of Tulare Lake, the Yose- 
mites of the valley of that name, the Monos from the other side of the range, 
and the Chowchillas of the river valley of that name. At the. signing of the 
Fort Barbour treaty, the second and third named tribes had neither signed, 
nor surrendered, nor been rounded up. The best known tribes were the Poho- 
nochees living near the waters of the Pohono or Bridal Veil Creek in summer 
and on the south fork of the Merced in winter about twelve miles below Wa- 
wona, the Potoencies on the Merced, ^^'iltucumnes on the Tuolumne, Noot- 
choos and Chowchillas in the Chowchilla Valley, the Honaches and Mewoos 
on the Fresno and vicinity and the Chookchachanees on the San Joaquin and 
vicinity. 

The original name of the Yosemite Valley was Ah-wah-nee, meaning 
"deep grass valley." The word "yosemite" signifies "a full grown grizzly 
bear." The valley portion of the Sierra region was inhabited by a peaceful 
people, who indulged in few controversies and were less belligerent than 
any on the Pacific coast, usually settling disputes by talk in general council. 

The treaty of peace and friendship submitted in council at Fort Barbour, 
and afterward repudiated by the government by the way, was signed up on 
April 29, 1851, by chiefs representing sixteen tribes. Of tribal names other 
than those mentioned, only one has been perpetuated — that of the Pitiaches, 
whose home was in the vicinity of the site of Fresno city and whose one 
time existence is recalled bv the official designation of Pitiaches Tribe No. 
144, I. O. R. M. of Fresno. 

The Fresno Indians of today court the seclusion of their foothill or moun- 
tain rancherias. In the fruit season, they mingle with the whites on the 
plains to seek employment in orchard or vineyard ; otherwise they are not 
seen save on the days of the visiting circus or for the Fourth of July parades 
and celebrations. Such a moving appeal was made to the supervisors of the 
county in March, 1917, that they authorized H. G. Brendel as superintendent 
of Indian missions to provide medical service for the poor Indians and Dr. 
Charles L. Trout of Clovis to attend the sick in the mountains and present 
bills to the county for payment. It was the first step the county has ever 
taken to render a service to the Indians, but the relief was like the locking of 
the stable door after the horse was stolen. 

The missionaries school them and give them religious instruction, afford 
them medical attention according to the means provided them, and prevail on 
them when they have lived in the marital state according to loose tribal cus- 
toms and have borne children to accompany them to the county seat and for 
the sake of the children take out license and be wedded according to the law of 
the land. The Indians have had intercourse long enough with the whites to 
have lost faith in their medicine men, though one of these charlatans was 
haled into court about a year ago for manslaughter in the killing of a tribes- 
man .in giving the blood sucking treatment to a patient resulting in death. 
The charge was in the end dismissed. The missionaries have done all they 
can in the medical line until the demands on them became too great without 
money for medicine and mileage for the physician. Measles, pulmonary and 
bronchial troubles are the principal ailments, especially among the children. 

"I have watched men, women and children die because of no medical 
service," said Superintendent Brendel in his appeal to the supervisors. "It 
is a long way back into the hills and an Indian will ordinarily not earn 
enough or more than to provide the merest necessary food to keep up life. 
Why during winter they almost starve and when sickness comes they gen- 
erally die. Once there were many Indians back in the hills, but now we have 
only 687, a slight increase over last year. The diseases they are subject to 
eat up the population fast. I often wonder how it is that we have any left, 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 69 

for the government has neglected to give them the aid that reservation Indians 
are entitled to." 

Back in earlier days, the government's agents signed treaties with the 
Indians providing that they gave up the valley lands for reservations in other 
prosperous sections of the country. Congress never ratified these treaties, 
the white man seized the valley lands and the Indians were left to content 
themselves with the barren foothill or mountain sections in which to build 
their homes in. The government as the only thing that it does for them 
gives two days of school sessions weekly. The state of California does noth- 
ing for them. Patents are granted by the general government for mountainous 
land — none other being available — to Indians that have severed the tribal 
relations, but the title is paternally held as a protection to the Indian in trust 
for twenty years. 

The Indians are said to be good laborers, reliable, better than the Japan- 
ese, willing and docile but the squaw must hold the purse string, because 
strong drink is an allurement that the buck cannot resist. The county provi- 
sion out of the public fund, small as it is, was made on the theory that the 
Indians are indigents to be aided as are the other poor of the county, and 
thus on a small scale a work as a mission charity efifort was initiated for fees 
that little more than defray automobile mileage charges, while improving the 
general health and living conditions of the Indians. The surviving aborigines 
in the county are assembled on rancherias on Sycamore Creek, at Indian Mis- 
sion, Table Mountain and in the foothill sections near and about Auberry. 

The Indian population of California in 1915 was returned at 15,034. 
Indians are located in fifty-five of the fifty-eight counties of the state. In 
dealing with the California tribes, the government did not follow the policv 
pursued with the wild tribes of the plains in making treaties or giving them 
remuneration for lands acquired by whites. Allotments number 2,592 of 82,- 
l'')2 acres with 430,136 unallotted. The California Indians are of at least four- 
teen difl:"erent linguistic stocks. They are located on twenty-six reservations, 
twenty-two of these mission reservations. Most of the mission tribes of dif- 
ferent tribes are located on scattered small reservations over Riverside and 
San Diego Counties. The Tule River reservation of seventy-six square miles 
in Tulare County shelters the survivors of the one-time warlike Tulares that 
were once monarchs over all they surveyed on the San Joaquin plains. 

The last and most remarkable and also the most formidable uprising in 
California was the 1872-73 Modoc war. That tribe defied and resisted gov- 
ernment troops for months from their lava beds near the Oregon state line 
and treacherously assassinated at a peace council on April 11, 1873, Gen. E. R. 
S. Canby and Rev. Eleazor Thomas of Petaluma, Cal., one of the commis- 
sioners. The tribe was finally subjugated, four of the ringleaders in the mur- 
ders hanged on October 3, 1873, two sentenced to life imprisonment at Alca- 
traz Island and the others — thirty-nine men, fifty-four women and sixty chil- 
dren — deported to Ouapaw agency in Indian Territory. 



70 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER X 

Indians Give Much Trouble in 1850. Squaw Discloses General 
Tribal Conspiracy. Trader Savage Outmarshaled in 
Diplomacy and is the Principal Sufferer in Hostilities. 
Murders and Plunder Forays in Rapid Succession With 
Mutilation of the Victims. State is Appealed to for Pro- 
tection. Mariposa Battalion of Rangers is Formed Com- 
manded BY Savage. Hostilities Halted for Retarding 
Palavers by the Investigating and Deliberate Commis- 
sioners. Indian Rancherias Surprised. 

There was none of the heroic and much of the inhuman on the part of 
the whites, with some of the pathetic on the side of the redmen in the Mari- 
posa Indian War, which footed up a bill of $300,000 as the cost of the exter- 
mination of the valley mountain tribe of the Yosemites (estimated at some 
200) with incidental discovery of the famous scenic valley on the Merced 
River. 

During the vear 1850, the Indians of Mariposa County, which then in- 
cluded all the territory south of the Tuolumne and Merced divide within 
the San Joaquin Valley proper, greatly harassed the miners and few settlers. 
Their depredations and assaults continued until U. S. commissioners came 
in 18.51 to exercise control over them. Treaties were made in the end with 
sixteen small local tribes and all were placed on reservations. Among the 
settlers was James D. Savage, of whom more anon, who in 1849-50 had located 
in the mountains near the s'outh fork of the Merced, about fifteen miles below 
the Yosemite Valley. He employed Indians to dig gold for him and early in 
1850 the Yosemites,' a band of mountain tribe outlaws and fugitives, attacked 
his trading post and mining camp, claiming the territory and attempting to 
drive Savage ofif, though plunder was probably the real object. 

The assault was repelled, but the location was no longer deemed a safe 
one and Savage removed to Mariposa Creek, twenty miles southwest of 
Aqiia Fria, near the site of an old stone fort. He also established a branch 
post on the Fresno, above what was known later as Leach's old store, where 
the mining prospects were better with subsidence of the water. Here a pros- 
perous traffic was built up, the miners and prospectors dealing with him 
rather than spend the time on the journey to and from INIariposa village, 
exacting though his prices were. In the midst of prosperity, one of his squaw 
wives disclosed a conspiracy-hatching among the mountain tribes to kill or 
drive off all the whites and plunder them, the Yosemites leading in the plot. 
He pretended to disregard the report but gave general warning against a 
surprise. 

Savage gave out that he was going to San Francisco for a stock of goods 
and ordering strict caution, he started, accompanied by two squaws and an 
Indian chief, Jose Juarez, really one of the leading plotters, to impress him 
with the sights at Stockton and San Francisco of the futility of an uprising 
in view of the superior numbers and resources of the whites. Juarez, being 
liberally supplied with gold, was stupidly drunk while in San Francisco, and 
being reproved by Savage retorted in abuse, disclosing the secret of the 
war. Savage lost his self control and knocked him down. After remaining 
to witness the celebration on October 20, 1850, of California's admission and 
arranging for the forwarding of goods as he might order. Savage started back 
for Mariposa. On arrival at Ouartzburg. he learned that the Kaweahs were 
exacting tribute from immigrants passing through their territory, and that 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 71 

one Moore had been killed not far from his station. Savage "scented danger 
to himself." 

Learning that Indians were numerous at Cassady's Bar on the San Joa- 
quin and not far from his Fresno River station, he hurried to the latter point, 
found everything quiet apparently, and the Indians congregated only for 
barter, among them two chiefs of tribes from which he had taken wives. 
Pretending indifference. Savage sought to assure himself of the progress of 
the conspiracy, and calling an impromptu council, passed the pipe of peace 
and speechified on the damaging results of a war and the advantages of peace- 
ful intercourse, being familiar with the dialects. He referred to Juarez to 
confirm his statements. 

Th;e cunning Juarez answered, but to the surprise of Savage advocated a 
united war for their self preservation, the speech evincing "a keenness of 
observation inconsistent with his apparent drunken stupidity," while at the 
bay city. His speech met with approval, others joined him, and an appeal to 
cupidity in a common plot to plunder had its effect. Savage was outgeneraled 
and withdrew to prepare for the h.ostilities he felt certain would follow. The 
miners and settlers ridiculed and belittled his warnings. 

Soon settlers at Indian Gulch and at Ouartzburg learned that Savage's 
Fresno post had been looted on Christmas night 1850 and two men killed, 
and that his squaw wives, who had refused to abandon his interests when 
importuned, were carried off by th:eir tribespeople. "Long Haired" Brown, 
the courier, had been warned by a friendly, carried by him across the Fresno 
and escaped barefooted and in his night clothes, dodged arrows in the pursuit 
and outdistanced his pursuers, being a man of strength and agility. On the 
heels of this report came another from the miners' camp at Mariposa Creek 
that Savage's establishment there had been plundered and burned and all 
save the trader killed. 

Another murderous assault was reported January 15, 1851, by Frank W. 
Boden, whose arrival at Cassady's post with shattered right arm and on pant- 
ing horse excited general sympathy. A partv at once started for Four Creeks 
to aid his companions, whom he had left fighting the Kaweahs. Boden's arm 
was amputated by Dr. Lewis Leach of St. Louis, Mo., who had come in with 
him. Boden and companions had halted at Four Creeks to rest and graze 
their horses, and while there Kaweahs demanded tribute, banter followed 
and all at once there was firing. In the melee Boden was four times arrowed 
in the arm. He fired his last shot, resting rifle on broken arm, and then with 
bridle rein in teeth, and carrying broken arm in the other hand sped at top 
speed for Cassady's. The attack was made near the site of the present Visalia 
— Dr. Thos. Payne's place. The mangled bodies of Boden's mates were found, 
one of the four by unmistakable signs having been flayed alive. 

Cassadv & Lane kept in January. 1851, a trading post several miles below 
Rootville CMillerton), and were engaged above the fort site in mining at 
Cassadv's Bar, employing about thirtv men. The camp was protected by a 
stone fence, the post by ditches. Indian hostilities hereabout included the 
murder of two teamsters at Fine Gold Gulch and the driving off of stock, 
and by two other man killings below Millerton. Cassady's post was visited 
bv Indians on the 20th of the month. Savage being there on a warning call. 
The employes had maintained vigilant night guard and dug ditches and em- 
bankments, but Cassadv ridiculed these preparations. No guards were put 
on that night, Savage sleeping in a covered wagon within the enclosure. In 
the morning an arrow was found in the canvas of the main tent, arrows in 
several of the horses and mules, and fresh moccasin tracks along the river 
bank. Cassady, who was "a very Georgia Major," foolhardy and a swaggerer, 
would not heed warning, but persisted there was no real danger. Next day 
Savage and Leach rode to Mariposa to be at the organization of the battalion, 
and in a day or so Cassadv paid the penalty for his foolhardiness. .A. detach- 
ment of thirty men under Kuykendall, with Leach a private, came to seek the 



72 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

remains and found them on the river bank below the post, with legs cut off, 
tongue cut out and pinned with arrow over the heart and the body otherwise 
mutilated. It was buried near where found. 

Reports of these and other raids and murders were forwarded to Gov. 
John IMcDougal by Sheriff Burney and other officials, urging immediate meas- 
ures by the state for the protection of the people. It being in the air that 
the Indians were rallying for concerted operations, a volunteer force made 
rapid and toilsome march among the wooded mountains in pursuit and came 
up with the retreating Indians high up on the Fresno. A skirmish followed, 
with one man killed, and other casualties. Unorganized and with no supplies, 
the pursuers were worsted, the pursued elated and the volunteers returned to 
the settlements for reorganization under John J. Kuykendall. 

About 100 took up the war-path and pursued the Indians to near the 
north fork of the San Joaquin, encamped at an old rancheria on a round, 
rugged mountain, oak and brush covered. Protected by trees and rocks, they 
taunted the whites and called upon Savage to come out and be killed. He 
was kept in safe reserve as his knowledge of the country and of the Indians 
and their dialect could not well be spared. The leaders of the hostiles were 
Juarez and Jose Rey, the special pleaders at Savage's council. Eight tribes 
were represented, chief among them the Chowchillas, Kaweahs and Yose- 
mites — some 500 against not to exceed 100 whites, the latter under Boling 
and Kuykendall, Doss and Chandler. 

The plan was for a daylight attack, setting fire to the village before the 
surprise assault. The camp was routed, Rey was among the first shot down 
and the Indians took flight. All was done so quickly that there was nothing 
left for the reserve under Boling and Savage. The village fire spread so fast 
as to endanger the camp supplies. The Indians escaped in the smoke, twenty- 
three killed, no prisoners taken, number of wounded never learned. The 
whites had only minor hurts. Further pursuit was useless. 

A general uprising being evident, the state authorities were aroused to 
action with the result of the Mariposa Battalion of 200 men being mustered 
in on January 24, 1851, the settler's organization forming the nucleus of the 
volunteer force with Savage riding on to Cassady's Bar to make up the com- 
plement. The volunteers provided horses and equipments, the state camp sup- 
plies and baggage trains, and maintenance was expected at the expense of 
the United States under the direction of the commissioners. Major Ben Mc- 
Cullough was offered the command in the hope of drawing the Texas Rangers 
in the county, but h;e declined, having a lucrative position as collector of the 
foreign miner's tax. The officers as commissioned on muster in were: 

Major — James D. Savage. 

Company A, seventy men — Captain, John J. Kuykendall ; Lieutenants, 
John I. Scott, T. T. Rodgers and Elisha M. Smith. 

Company B, seventv-two men — Captain, Tohn Boling ; Lieutenants, Reu- 
ben T. Chandler, T. J. Gilbert and T. J. Hancock. 

Company C, fifty-five men — Captain, William Dill ; Lieutenants. H. W. 
Farrell, F. W. Russell and Fletcher Crawford. 

Adjutant — M. B. Lewis. Surgeon — Dr. A. Bronson. succeeded by Leach 
on resignation. Assistants — Drs. Pfeififer and Black. Field and staff, seven: 
company officers and men, 197: total, 204. 

Incidentally, it may be noted that there is not in the state office any 
official record of the battalion, nor of this "war." 

The particular duty assigned to the battalion was to subdue the Indians 
on the east side of the San Joaquin and Tulare Valleys from the Tuolumne 
to Tejon Pass. Ready to start, an order came to halt hostilities and the 
battalion was visited by Wm. Xeely Johnson, the governor's aid and himself 
governor later, and the LTnited States commissioners — George ^^^ Barbour for 
whom the temporary fort was named ; Redick AIcKee afterward Indian agent, 
and "th.e genial and scholarly" Dr. O. M. ^^'ozencraft, who was a member of 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 7i 

the constitutional convention, the party escorted by a detachment of United 
States dragoons. 

The commission proceeded first to investigate the cause of the war and 
condition of affairs. Mission Indians were secured to notify as couriers all 
tribes to come in and surrender, presents were distributed, powwows held, 
and promises made of food, clothing and useful things, and while awaiting 
answer horses and mules were stolen from the vicinity of the camp and in 
the field. A reservation was selected on the Fresno near the foothills, a few 
miles above the present Madera, eighteen or twenty miles from camp, and 
headquarters established. 

No active operations were undertaken, aside from scouting parties, so 
deliberate were the commissioners. But the mountain would not come to 
Mohammed, and so Mohammed went to the mountain. The mountain tribes 
would not come in, and so it was resolved to go after them. Major Savage 
and Boling's and Dill's companies to scour the region of the San Joaquin 
and Merced, and Kuykendall to operate on the Kings and Kaweah. A Noot- 
choo rancheria on the south fork of th.e Merced was the first to be surprised. 
Bishop's Camp or fort was established and the Indians transferred to the 
Fresno. Runners were sent to the mountains, a small band of Pohonochees 
from the Merced divide came in, and next Tenieya, chief of the Yosemites, in 
response to a special envoy. Surrender? Perish the thought! Forward, 
March ! to the village to bring them in, even to follow them to their lurking 
places in "the deep canyon." 



CHAPTER XI 

Mariposa Indian War Campaign of Starvation and Village 
Burnings. Chief Tenieya Obstructs Entry Into the Val- 
ley. Chowchillas and Yosemites Remain Obdurate. 
Discovery of the Great Valley. Favorite Son Killed and 
Tenieya Held Captive at the End of a Rope. End of the 
War. Yosemites Exterminated by the Monos for Ill- 
requited Hospitality. Their Ch'ief is Stoned to Death. 
Reservation System Unpopular. 

Tenieya was a wily, voluble and rascally old fellow, who with one plea 
or another prevented or delayed the march to the valley. Had the rangers 
been left to themselves, they would have made short work of th,e campaign, 
but they were bound by the orders of the commissioners, and much time h.ad 
been frittered away with powwows and procrastination. Patience at last 
ceased to be a virtue. 

Volunteers were called for the "Deep Canyon" Party and Boling's and 
Dill's companies stepped out as if on parade, but the select were chosen after 
a footrace in the snow, the inspiration of Boling. A camp guard was left be- 
hind of the distanced. At last the start was made in the snow, trailing in 
single file, Savage leading, Tenieya an unwilling guide, and the party entered 
the valley on March 21, 1851, the first appearance of the white man. 

This was the very thing that Tenieya had tried to prevent, because of 
a traditional prophecy. A great medicine man, a friend of his father, induced 
him to leave th.e Mono tribe of his mother, and as their chief establish him- 
self in the valley of his ancestors with a few descendants of the Ahwahnee- 
chees and other renegades, who had been living with the Monos and Paiutes. 
The patriarch, had prophesied that while in possession of the valley the tribe 
would increase and become powerful, he cast a protective spell upon it, but 
cautioned that, if ever the horsemen of the lowlands (the Spaniards) entered. 



74 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the tribe would be scattered and destroyed, his people taken captive and he 
be the last chief. The rangers' stay in the valley was limited to three days, 
because the provisions were exhausted, and the return to camp was taken up 
with some 350 Indians, including seventy-five surrendered Yosemites, all 
of whom save one, escaped from Boling and nine men, on the night before 
the last day's march to the reservation. Most of the runaways were retaken 
on pursuit. 

But the Yosemites and Chowchillas refusing to leave their haunts, new 
campaigns were necessary against each, first against the Chowchillas en- 
camped on the north fork of the San Joaquin. The march was taken via 
Coarse Gold and a circuitous route on which Crane Valley was located and 
named. Savage was called away as interpreter to treat with Kaweahs sent 
in from the south by Kuykendall. who in season ended the campaign against 
the Tulare valleyites by vigorous operations in the valleys, foothills and 
mountains of the Kings and Kaweah Rivers, chasing them even into the 
high Sierras. 

Roling in command headed for the Chowchillas' camp. They fled de- 
moralized, Rey, their chief, having died from his wounds. They surrendered, 
subdued by hunger and swift pursuit, and though after the Yosemites 
the most warlike Uiey proved the most tractable and reliable of the mountain 
tribes. 

For the second valley expedition some of Kuykendall's men at head- 
quarters volunteered with the supply train. Dill, with part of his company, 
was retained at headquarters as guard, while Gilbert with part of h.is, reported 
to Boling. Dr. PfeifTer was placed in charge of a temporary battalion hospi- 
tal. Surgeon Bronson resigned to reap the returns of his negro slaves mining 
on Sherlock's Creek, Leach succeeded him and Dr. Black went with Boling, 
who marched on against the Yosemites into th.e valley, sending out scouting 
and searching parties, burning wigwams and acorn stores to starve out the 
band after it was evident temporizing had no results. This was the plan 
throughout the Mariposa Indian War, as it was called. Three sons of 
Tenieya were the first captured in the valley. 

Escapes of individuals from camp left two captives, w^ho were fastened 
to an oak tree, tied back to back, while scouts went out to surround and 
seize Tenieya. The captives loosened themselves, deliberately observed by 
the guards, and starting to run were fired upon, and one who was killed 
proved to be Tenieya's youngest and favorite son. Lieutenant Chandler and 
scouts returned with the captured chief, and the latter's first sight in camp 
was the body of his son. It broke the old chief's heart, and he manifested 
it in moody silence, or alternative laments and tirades, so that "hardly any 
one could help sympathize with him in his great sorrow." 

Tenieya was "a greedy and filthy glutton" though, and it is related by 
Dr. Lafayette H. Bunnell, M. D., volunteer surgeon of the battalion and 
its historian, that surfeited with fat pork and beans and soldier rations he 
became dyspeptic and begged to be put out to grass in the meadows. The 
novel sight was presented of the chief staked out at the end of a rope in 
the hand of his guard grazing upon young clover, sorrel, fresh ferns and 
bulbous roots. 

The rangers remained in the valley for about one month, ever on the 
move to locate and bring in recalcitrants, and Bunnell as the most senti- 
mental one naming most of the valley points of interest. About June, and 
no more Yosemites to be located in th.e valley, Boling advanced higher into 
the mountains to a large lake on the north fork of the Merced ten miles 
northeast of the valley, observing which Tenieya employed every artifice to 
divert him and made several escape attempts. Here on June 5, the remainder 
of the tribe was found and made captive, half starved and in a miserable 
state from the privations of the close pursuit. Th.ere were thirty-five, nearly 
all part of Tenieya's family. Oft to the reservation they were marched, and 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 75 

the lake was named for the old chief. The "war"' was ended. The com- 
missioners had gone to the Kings River Farm to treat with the bands col- 
lected th.ere. There being no more hostiles from the Tuolumne to the Tejon, 
the battalion was mustered out on July 25. 1851, at Buckeye Creek, midway 
between Bridgeport and Mariposa. . . . The reported last survivor of 
the battalion was Robert Eccleston, pioneer resident of Forbestown, Butte 
County, who died in Oakland, Cal., on February 1, 1914, at the age of eighty- 
one years. He came overland and was a cattle raiser near Forbestown. The 
muster roll shows that he was a private in Company C, enlisted as a New 
Yorker at the age of twenty-one. 

At the reservation Tenieya was never much in favor. He was "set in 
his ways, obstinate and exacting" — "cranky" in other words — and the other 
Indians taunted him with his downfall. He chafed under the contemptuous 
treatment and asked for leave of absence, pleading that he could not endure 
the heat of the sun and preferred his acorn diet to the government rations. 
Nothing loath to be rid of him with the endless squabbling, he was released 
and trailed back to the valley with the remnant of his relatives. Others were 
allowed in time to go and early in May, 1852, some of these ticket of leave 
absentees ambushed Coarse Gold Gulch,, French prospectors, who had en- 
tered the valley. 

Rose and Charbon were killed and Tudor seriously wounded but 
escaped and arrived at Coarse Gold later in August. The news spread alarm 
and there was fear that the excited Indians at the reservation would desert 
and another outbreak would result. In fact those encamped outside hurried 
to the agencies for protection lest they be picked ofi in revenge for the latest 
murders. Lieutenant, Moore from Fort Miller was sent with: soldiers to 
punish the Indians and entered the valley by night. One of his volunteer 
scouts was A. A. ( Gus) Gray, who had been in Boling's company and after- 
wards was a captain in Walker's Nicaragua filibuster expedition. The party 
captured five of the murderers. Tenieya apprised by a scout of all that fol- 
lowed kept in seclusion. The murderers did not deny the accusation and 
wearing part of the apparel of the dead Moore did not bandy words but 
summarily pronounced judgment and ordered them shot, which was done. 

To justify himself or to allay public curiosity, Moore published a letter 
in the Mariposa Chronicle descriptive of the expedition. In this letter the 
word "Yosemity" was for the first time written "Yosemite." It attracted 
attention and the changed orthography has continued since. The "autocratic 
power" assumed in shooting the Indians was at the time the subject of 
public criticism. To iloore attaches the credit of being the first to draw the 
attention of the scientific and literary world to the wonders of the Yosemite 
Valley, his position as an army officer establishing a reputation for the facts 
that another correspondent might not have commanded. 

Tenieya had fled across the range to the Monos. He had nothing to 
do with the murders but Moore followed in close pursuit. Tenieya knew 
the mountains better and escaped, skulking among the clififs and chasms, 
driven from pillar to post. Moore finally gave up the pursuit and Tenieya 
returned, late in 1853, to the valley, followed by some of his veteran incor- 
rigibles. The Monos and Paiutes returned one day from a successful South- 
ern California foray, and the Yosemites ill repaid the hospitality of their 
former hosts by making of? with some of their stolen horses. The Monos in 
revenge set upon the Yosemites with Tenieya as the principal object of at- 
tack, while at a horse meat banquet. One young Mono chief, having spent 
all his arrows, hurled a rock with such force as to crush in Tenieya's skull, 
and others cast rocks upon the prostrate body until in accord with, the 
Paiute custom he was literally stoned to death and buried under a pile of 
rocks. All but eight of Tenieya's young braves were killed. 

Hittell describes the finale: "The IMonos then pursued the other Indians 
and killed all, except some very old persons who were allowed to escape 



76 HISTORY OF FRESXO COUNTY 

and some young- women and children, whom they carried into captivity 
across th.e mountains. There was no longer any Yosemite tribe, nor so 
far as known any living being of Tenieya's blood. He was in truth the last 
of the Yosemites." The Independent Order of Red i\Ien tribe at IMadera 
has taken for its name that of the Last of the Yosemites. 

Success did not crown the labors of the commissioners in treaty making 
and establishing reservations. There was a lurking but strong suspicion 
that they knew little about the country and much less concerning Indians, 
that everything they did was a mistake and not infrequently in excess of 
their powers. They travelled in style like a circus caravan and at consid- 
erable public expense, with dragoon escort and accomplished little of im- 
portance or lasting benefit, while making presents and being lavish in prom- 
ises for little or no return value. Their treaties were disapproved and nearly 
all the debts contracted were repudiated as unauthorized. The established 
reservations were almost useless, and very unpopular. Governors jNIcDougal 
and Bigler opposed th.em in the legislative messages, McDougal favoring 
removal of the Indians beyond the state, and Bigler denouncing the reserva- 
tion system as wrong, fraught with evil to whites and Indians, calculated 
to irritate collisions and imposing heavy burdens on the government. 

The work and its results proved so unsatisfactory that the commission 
was abolished and Congress adopted a new system with Indian agents as 
managers, and the valley reservation Indians were liberated after about four 
years of restrictions. The Indian question was one which gave the legisla- 
tures of the 50's much concern, but the old state of affairs continued and 
the extermination went on. 

During the summer of 1853, Dr. Bunnell and E. G. Barton traded and 
mined on the Merced on the north side, several miles above the north fork, 
but that winter the place was plundered, desolated and the two men in 
charge murdered. The body of one was pierced nine times with five arrows 
still quivering in the flesh when found. Boling was then sheriff' of Mariposa 
County, but the case was beyond his jurisdiction, the supposition being that 
the crime was perpetrated by Tuolumne renegades once under Tenieya and 
that they were on the Upper Tuolumne. 

The last serious Indian outbreak in the valley was in the summer of 
1856, when the Four Creeks of Tulare went on the warpath. Volunteer com- 
panies ran them down in six weeks, and there has not been another uprising 
since. Fresno County contributed some fifty rangers for this campaign, the 
Millerton and vicinity company under Ira Stroud and the Coarse Gold and 
Fresno River company under John L. Hunt. 



CHAPTER XII 

Savage a Picturesque Character. The Most Able of the Squaw 
Men. Consorted With Indians Nearly All His Life. He 
Had Five Squaws as Wives. Wielded Great Influence 
Among the Mountain Tribes. A Thumbnail Sketch of 
Him. Wagered His Weight in Gold on Turn of a Card. 
Indian Affairs in Hands of a Political Ring. Savage 
Cowardly Murdered in Defense of Indians. Slayer 
Released After a Farcical Inquiry. 

This Major James D. Savage, so prominent in the Mariposa Indian War, 
was one of the remarkable and picturesque characters connected with the 
early days of the valley. His death was a violent one. It was said of him 
that he was of those "not unfrequently found upon the confines of civilization, 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 77 

who combined great, though uncultivated, strength of intellect with great, 
though not unkindly, coarseness in the conduct of life." 

Before the day of the white woman in California, some of the early 
residents took up relations with squaws, even to marrying them. Most of 
these men were described as "coarse in manners and low in character, but 
some were in various respects superior men," who had yielded to their 
environments. Savage, it is agreed, was "the most prominent and perhaps 
the most able" of all these so-called squaw men. The marriage of Indian 
women by white men involved the latter's degradation to the Indian's level, 
and never in a recorded instance elevated the woman to anything like social 
equality with the whites. It also meant for the white man racial and social 
ostracism. 

Savage emigrated overland to California in 1846. The earliest mention 
of him is as a member of Company F, Fremont's California Battalion in the 
California insurrection. He is named in a directory of New Helvetia ( Sut- 
ter's Fort), and also as one of the most troublesome malcontents in the bat- 
talion, necessitating a general courtmartial of them in December, 1846-47. 
He had been a trapper and mountaineer and consorted with Indians the 
greater part of his life, familiar with their customs, readily mastering their 
dialects, wielding wide influence among them, besides later acquiring wealth 
by his business methods. He was one of the Philadelphia party that located, 
with Rev. James Woods on the Tuolumne at Wood's Crossing or Wood's 
Creek in the early summer of 1848. 

He also worked the Big Oak Flat diggings, fifteen or twenty miles south 
of the rich Sonora gold placers, so named on account of a big oak tree on one 
of the main travelled routes to the Yosemite and later so familiarly known. 
At the Flat mining in 1849. he employed Indians, whom he paid in blankets 
and provisions, constituting himself also protector of their interests against 
white encroachments. He developed a faculty for dealing with the Indians 
and contracting domestic relations with them, ^\'hile doing a lucrative busi- 
ness as an employer and supplier, a quarrel arose at the rancheria and a 
Texan was arrowheaded to death. The whites rushed to arms. Indians were 
killed, strained relations resulted looking to a war, but Savage pacified the 
Indians and they moved higher up into the mountains. 

Afterward, in 1850, he opened a trading post on the south fork of the 
Merced, employing Indians and marrying according to mountain men cus- 
tom the five daughters of as many capitanejos. By reason of the connections 
with as many tribes, he commanded general influence and strengthened his 
personal safety among the Mariposa Indians. His wealth was reported to be 
not less than $100,000. He was such a powerful agency that the governor 
hesitated not to commission him major of the ranger battalion. His services 
moreover were indispensable as interpreter in the treaty making negotiations 
with the surrendering or captured tribes. The lawless and predatory Yose- 
mites on the headwaters of the Merced alone were beyond his authority and 
persuasion. 

At the Merced post he did business on the principle of hiring every 
Indian that would work, taking all the gold dust but scrupulously paying 
in hardware or whiskey, ounce for ounce, pound for pound. Not alone was 
he a man of mark, widely known in the district but throughout a consider- 
able part of the state. The Yosemites drove him from the Merced to Aqua 
Fria on the JNIariposa in 1850, and he established a branch post on th.e Fresno 
as related. Galen Clark, who died in Oakland, Cal., March 24, 1910, at the 
age of ninety-six, said that Savage was perhaps the best friend of the Indians 
while in captivity. 

A letter written from Hart's ranch on January 16, 1851, by T. G. Palmer 
of Newark, N. J., as a member of the battalion to his father gives this thumb- 
nail sketch of Savage: 

"From his long acquaintance with the Indians, Mr. Savage had learned 



78 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

their ways so thoroughly that they cannot deceive him. He has been one 
of their great chiefs and speaks their language as well as they can them- 
selves. No dog can follow a trail like he can. No horse can endure as much. 
He sleeps but little, can go days without food and can run 100 miles in a 
day and a night over the mountains, and then sit and laugh for hours over 
a campfire as fresh and lively as if he had just been taking a little walk 
for exercise. He pointed out their fires, could hear them sing and could smell 
them, but his eyes were the only ones that could see, his ears alone could 
hear and his nose smell anything unusual." 

As illustrative of the ways of the man, it is related that at the Fresno 
branch h,e kept an electro magnetic battery and with its mysterious opera- 
tion worked upon the superstition of his Indian hangers on. Also that on 
the visit to San Francisco in October, 1850, when he took along 600 pounds 
Troy weight of gold to safe-deposit and to make purchases, the lure of the 
gaming table seized him. and presumably in the famous El Dorado tent at 
Washington and Kearney Streets he leaped on the table and setting foot 
on the card wagered his weight in gold on the turn of the wheel — and lost. 
He was an ignorant man, but naturally shrewd, unable to read or write, but 
one of such positivism that he made many warm friends as well as impla- 
cable foes. Though in directing command of the battalion. Savage gave most 
of his attention to the palavering commissioners. The business connections 
with the treaties were transacted principally through him as the medium. 
The mission interpreters translated the Indian dialects into Spanish, these 
were rendered into English by Spanish interpreters of the commission, while 
Savage conducted the preliminaries and acted as ' a check on the dialect 
translations. 

After the war, Indian affairs fell into the hands of politicians and a 
ring, and the pot was kept simmering to influence congressional action, 
or the war department, for liberal estimates for the California Indian service. 
The excitement was largely local, the Indians remaining quietly on the 
reservations, as they did for about four years, under a loose supervision. 
They were envied for the possession of the Kings River Farm, and a few 
whites were ready to squat on the land whenever the redman was driven 
ofif. This element' was headed by one Walter H. Harvey, who was the first 
county judge of Tulare. Handy hangers-on asserted claim to the reserva- 
tion, the Indians on the rancheria warned them off, they were fired upon and 
several squaws were killed. 

Savage denounced the agitations and murders, asserting that Harvey 
was the responsible cause of them. Mariposans knew little concerning the 
affair as the Kings River was such a distant outpost. There had, however, 
been strong opposition against the commissioners' location of two reserva- 
tions in one county and the selection of the best farming land for them. It 
was openly declared that the reservation system, pretty in theory, was so 
mismanaged as to be one of neglect of the Indians and a fraud on the govern- 
ment. Bunnell asserts that while Tenieya and family were in the mountains 
subsisting on acorns the cost of their rations and support at the reservation 
was regularly charged up, and that estimates for appropriations were de- 
ceptive and "ten times more than the truth would warrant," so well estab- 
lished was the "California Indian Ring." 

Savage successfully pursued his trade with the miners on the Fresno and 
surrounding territory and the Indians of the reservation, besides those of 
the Kings "Farm, exciting jealous ire. Self interest prompted him to keep 
the Indians pacified, but nevertheless he denounced Harvey and his asso- 
ciates as deserving punishment, all of which came to their ears. Harvey and 
Sub-agent Campbell in common cause denounced Savage in return. _ Harvey 
assailed Savage's integrity and boasted that he would not dare visit Kings 
River while he (Harvey)' was there. Savage rode over on the forenoon of 
August 16, 1852. He demanded a retraction of the offensive personal re- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 79 

marks. Harvey refused, saying that Savage had been talking about him. 

"Yes," repUed Savage, 'T have said that you are a murderer and a 
coward." 

Harvey retreated a pace and passed the He. Savage struck him in the 
face and his pistol fell out of his shirtwaist. Quartermaster John G. Marvin 
picked up the weapon and Harvey asserted that ]\Iarvin had disarmed him, 
but the latter corrected him. Instantly Harvey fired with his own pistol 
five times, and Savage fell mortally wounded at the first shot. Marvin stood 
by during the encounter with Savage's pistol in hand too scared or too 
cowardly to interfere. 

Harvey was discharged after a farce of an examination by Joel H. 
Brooks as the justice, a personal friend of Harvey and a fellow who had 
fed on Savage's bounty. Brooks was specially appointed to conduct the 
examination. Afterward he fathered a series of articles assailing the Indian 
management, but was silenced with congenial employment at one of the 
agencies. Harvey left the country later in mortal fear that the Indians would 
avenge Savage's murder. According to Bunnell, "th.e ghost of Major Savage 
seemed to have haunted him, for ever after he was nervous and irritable and 
finally died of paralysis" — and drink. 

The body of Savage was, in 1855, exhumed and removed to the Fresno 
near his old trading post on the J. G. Stitt Adobe Ranch, a few miles east of 
Madera. A ten-foot shaft on a pedestal was there erected to his memory 
by Dr. Leach, his successor in business. The shaft is of Connecticut marble, 
cost $800, and the monument weighing many tons was shipped from Connec- 
ticut by water to Stockton and from there transported overland on a speci- 
ally made truck, drawn by eight horses. It bears the simple inscription, 
"Maj. Jas. D. Savage." 

Dr. Bunnell relates as a conversation had with Savage over a prospec- 
tive business connection this : 

"Doc, while you study books. I study men. I am not often very much 
deceived, and I perfectly understand the present situation, but let those 
laugh who win. If I can make good my losses by the Indians out of the 
Indians, I am going to do it. I was the best friend the Indians had and 
they would have destroyed me. Now that they once more call me 'Chief 
they shall build me up. I will be just to them, as I have been merciful, for 
after all they are but poor ignorant beings, but my losses must be made 
good." 

Bunnell gives credit to Savage for many noble qualities — manly cour- 
age, generous hospitality, unyielding devotion to friends, and kindness to 
immigrant strangers, but admits that he had "serious defects but such as 
would naturally result from a misdirected education and a strong will." He 
seemed to justify his course in using the opportunity to make himself whole 
again, while acting as a trader and in aiding others to secure "a good thing," 
by the sophism that he was not responsible for the action of the commis- 
sioners or of Congress. 



80 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XIII 

Permanent Settling Up of Fresno a Slow and Tedious Process. 
Early Record of Locators is Scant. Millerton Was at Its 
Zenith in 1853. First Locations of Trading Posts and 
Mining Camps. Centerville a Pioneer Flourishing Com- 
munity. A Remembered Oasis in the Desert. Earliest 
Glimpse of the Future County Seat. Established Indi- 
viduals AND Partnerships According to First Assessment 
Rolls of 1856-57. 

Permanent settlement of Mariposa county's Fresno territory was slow 
and tedious. With only a narrow fringe of placer mines, confronting a great 
expanse of arid plains in the center and on the west, and backed by an 
equally uninviting ruggedness along the Sierra slopes, it was deemed to 
have few attractions for the white settler. The Indian troubles tended to 
hold t^ck settlers, and so the few were restricted to the northeastern placers, 
with"^ light sprinkling of stockmen and farmers elsewhere. 

In connection with General Riley's visit to the placers, a reconnoissance 
of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys was made with a view of estab- 
lishing military posts to defend the miners and settlers. From the character 
of the mining population and the nature of their occupations, Riley advised 
that unless a strong military force were maintained on "the frontier." it 
would be impossible to prevent the outrages upon the Indians, and these in 
turn avenged by murders of isolated parties of whites. He urged that a 
militarv post be speedily established in the Kings River neighborhood, be- 
cause the new gold discoveries being made in this vicinity were attracting 
miners, while the rapidly increasing population of the northern placers was 
gradually forcing the Indian to the south to congregate on the waters of 
Lake Buena Vista in the Tulare country. The later Fort Miller was one re- 
sult, and it was the only military protection afiforded the entire valley "fron- 
tier" as far south as Fort Tejon. 

The record of early settlements and events in the Fresno territory is 
scant. Up to 1856, it is officially a part of the archives of ^lariposa County. 
Newspaper there was none until the ]\Iillerton Times in January, 1865. It 
lasted two and one-half months, and then there was a hiatus until .\pril, 
1870. Both were weekly apologies, which gave what little news they chose 
to gather and color in the presentation after it had been popularly threshed 
over during the week and was as stale as a last year's bird nest, ^^'hat 
newspaper publicity may have been given was in far away journals by 
volunteer correspondents when the mood took them to send them a few 
lines. The actors, who participated in the early events, have nearly all 
passed away, and the story is necessarily a patchwork of fugitive-recorded 
recollections of the pioneers and th.e traditions handed down through their 
descendants. These are not always reliable because the memory of man is 
at best treacherous. 

This slow settlement-process was due to various natural causes. It was 
scattered because the first comers located in the mountain gulches and on 
streams where there was gold, and the farmer where there was soil and 
water. Moreover the population was of the floating class, with little thought 
of permanency in location. Besides, the territory was so isolated and so 
remote from the county seat that actually for years there were communities 
without the semblance of authoritative government, unless in the repressive 
representation by the military at the fort, and it having nothing to do with 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 81 

matters civil. No wonder that there were excesses and that human Ufe 
was valued at so little in -those wild and woolly times. For years, there was 
unrest because of the Indians. The nearest populous stage points were 
Stockton, 140, and Visalia, 120 miles, by the routes traveled then. Yet Mil- 
lerton was a lively enough mining village in 1853, during which and for later 
years it was at its zenith, but with some of its glory and life departed on 
the abandonment of the fort and the removal of the soldiers in September, 
1856, not to be reoccupied until August, 1863, because of rumored activities 
in the valley during the Civil \\'ar by adherents of the southern cause. 

EARLIEST TERRITORIAL SETTLEMENTS 

The earliest settlement in the territory was of course Savage's trading 
post of 1850, above Leach's old store on the Fresno River, which was after- 
ward part of the county's northern boundary line. Next was very likely 
Rootville, the mining camp on the San Joaquin on the later site of Millerton, 
antedating even Fort or Camp Barbour, temporary headquarters of the 
commissioners during a part of the Mariposa Indian War and succeeded by 
the permanent Fort Miller. The peace treaty was signed in the camp on 
April 29, 1851. Upon return from the starvation campaign against the Chow- 
chillas before that date, Fort Miller was being built for the protection of 
the settlers. It was named for Captain Miller, its first garrison commander. 
but was not established until 1852, and Rootville and Fort Barbour changed 
names accordingly. There was a Fort Washington further down the river 
on the site of a vaquero corral of 1849, according to tradition : but this is 
little more than a tradition. 

This fort was below Rootville at Gravelly Ford on the river, and was 
the location of Cassady & Lane's post, where Cassady was killed and a 
previous massacre of several persons had occurred in the series that led 
to the Mariposa Indian War. It was hurriedly thrown up as an earthwork 
defense in expectancy of hostilities and was located above the present Lane's 
(Yosemite) bridge and below Little Dry Creek on land afterward of the V. 
B. Cobb ranch. The school district there still bears the name of Fort Wash- 
ington. Cassady was surprised and killed while beyond reach of succor in 
search of stray stock. Certain it is that Cassady & Lane had post and camp 
operating in January, 1851, and possibly before. 

After peace on the treaty signing. Savage put up a second store in 
the summer of 1851 on the Fresno, moving in the winter further down the 
stream to Bishop's camp or fort, before which the Fresno reservation had 
been selected on the Fresno. That summer Coarse Gold Gulch was a bus- 
tling mining camp, and Texas Flat was booming, Rooney & Thornburg keep- 
ing a store there. Fine Gold Gulch was probably also in existence then. 
Another Indian war threatening in October, 1851, Coarse Gold was depopu- 
lated by the miners, save for a half dozen, including William Abbie, but be- 
fore December they returned and C. P. Converse and T. C. Stallo opened a 
store one and one-half miles below Texas Flat in charge of Samuel H. P. 
Ross, nicknamed "Alphabetical" Ross, afterward district attorney of Merced 
County. 

Asa Johnson came then, with three negroes and a wench, in the summer 
of 1852. He killed Thomas Larrabee and upon acquittal left the country. 
Stallo & Converse discontinued their store in the spring of 1852 and were 
succeeded by the Walker brothers, James N. and C. F., who continued until 
1859. James was twice in the legislature in 1863 and 1871, and was sherilT 
and tax collector, elected in 1867 and in 1869. 

In 1852 John Ledford and Geo. M. Carson erected a store at Fresno 
Crossing, but soon sold to J. L. Hunt, elected in 1856 as one of the first county 
supervisors and four times reelected between 1860 and 1865. and to I. R. 
Nichols, who sold to J. M. Roan, who did not qualify in 1856, wherefore 



82 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Hunt's special election but who went to the legislature in 1858. In October, 
1854, Jefferson M. Shannon and S. B. Coffee engaged at Coarse Gold in 
the hog business, making large profits in selling pork for three years at 
twenty-five cents a pound and more, to Chinese miners. In 1854 T. J. Payne 
had a store at Fine Gold in charge of J. S. Ashman and one Julius William 
Aldrich. Ashman was sheriff four times, elected in 1865, 1871 and 1875 and 
appointed in 1874. In 1856 T. J. Allen kept restaurant and bar at Roan's 
store on the Fresno, officiating also as justice of the peace and being a law 
unto himself in holding a trial before a jury of three for a civil debt of $350 
when the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace was limited to $299.99. But 
almost anything "went" in those days. 

Among some of the foremost at Millerton were in 1852-53: Dr. Lewis 
Leach, C. P. Converse, T. C. Stallo, Hugh Carlin, T. J. Allen, Hugh A. Car- 
roll, L. G. Hughes, Ira Stroud, Charles A. Hart, first county judge and sub- 
sequent owner of the Millerton townsite and of the fort, which was his 
home until death. Dr. Du Gay, Henry Burrough., John McLeod, William 
Rousseau, besides others. In 1854 Ira McCray and George Rivercombe, 
first elected county treasurer, and again in 1859 and 1860, engaged in the 
hotel and livery business at Millerton, Rivercombe retiring early, leaving 
McCray to "coin money" over his bar, his gambling tables and his ferry 
directly opposite the court house entrance. In 1855 George Grierson, Otto 
Froelich and Gomer Evans located as general merchants, Grierson returning 
with family in May, 1868, to Denmark, Evans removing to San Francisco 
as bookkeeper and cashier for Parrott & Co., the bankers, and Froelich con- 
tinuing until 1872, when with the general exodus he came to Fresno and 
became prominent in banking and commercial circles. 

On the Upper Kings, about 1852, was a thriving settlement with John 
Poole establishing the first ferry across the river and located there was 
\\'illiam Y. Scott, the second sheriff of the county elected in 1858. for whom 
the place was named. Scott was popularly known as "Monte" because when 
he and Hazleton came to these parts they brought with them a monte layout. 
Scottsburg was washed away by a flood, but th.e settlement was rebuilt on 
higher land. It named itself Centerville and was in its day a flourishing 
community, but because of a like named older village in Alameda County it 
locked horns with the postal authorities and was not recognized officially 
save as "Kings River." Centerville as the name staid, was at one time the 
most populous village in the county, saving Fresno, the seat, and held the 
balance of political power. Today it is a collection of weath.erbeaten rooker- 
ies, and little more than a memory of the past, having been superseded by 
the bustling town of Sanger in the Kings River bottoms in the center of 
the pioneer orange and citrus belt of the county. Among the earliest Cen- 
tervillians may be named ; W. W. Hill, supervisor in 1863, and treasurer 
from 1867. until his death in 1874, the Smoot and Akers families. P. W. 
Fink. A. M. Darwin and E. C. Ferguson. John A. Patterson, William Hazle- 
ton, C. F. Cherry, Jesse Morrow of th.e Morrow House, which stood so long 
on the site of the federal building in Fresno. Richard and William Glenn, 
William Deakin. ^^'illiam J. Hutchinson, the village blacksmith and countv 
assessor from 1883 to 1891. and others engaged in agriculture and stock 
raising. 

Another busy settlement was the New Idria quicksilver mine on the 
West Side (now in San Benito County) with its Cornish and Mexican min- 
ers. Its development was long retarded by protracted litigation over the 
William McGarrahan claim, which was prosecuted in the end to the Ignited 
States supreme court. It was about 1854 that L. A. Whitmore established 
the first ferry across the lower Kings at where the town of Kingston was 
located. He was killed and O. H. Bliss succeeded him and maintained it 
but discontinued it for a bridge and sold the property after a time to John 
Sutherland. Mr. Bliss had flower beds, green hedges, arbors and bowers 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

about the ferry station, it being remembered as a veritable garden oasis 
the desert. He announced his activities in the following fashion: 

O. H. BLISS 

Notary Public 

and WELLS, FARGO & CO.'S AGENT 

KINGSTON FERRY 

Mr. Bliss has a fine and commodious 

LIVERY STABLE 

For the accommodation of travelers 

BLISS' FERRY at Kingston is the best and safest crossing on King's Riv^r. 



A FIRST GLIMPSE OF MILLERTON 

The earliest glimpse of Millerton is furnished in the itinerary notes of 
Mineralogist William P. Parks, who, in 1853, was with the Williamson 
government topographical survey of the California interior for a transcon- 
tinental railroad route. The party left the United States arsenal at Benicia 
Barracks, July 10, 1853, coming up the valley via Livermore Pass and Elk- 
horn and camped several days at Fort Miller on arrival July 25. The itiner- 
ary notes : 

"Gold is found in the bed of the river in considerable quantity. It is 
mostly very fine scale gold and it is difficult to separate it from the black 
sand, which is abundant and heavy. Groups of gold washers and Chinamen 
were engaged along the banks, either washing out the gold in a common 
pan or using the 'cradle.' A panful of sand and gravel taken up anywhere 
on the surface of the first bench of the river would 'show color' on being 
washed out. This term 'color' has passed into general use among the miners, 
denoting the presence of just sufficient gold to be well recognized. One of 
the miners was working his claim with a cradle and employed two Indians 
to dig and bring the auriferous earth and gravel. He was obtaining about 
one ounce per day. 

"Some of the officers of the army at Fort Miller were constructing a 
canal along the bed of the stream into which they were intending to turn 
the water of the river when at its lowest stage and thus be enabled to obtain 
the sand of its bed which: was supposed to be extremely rich in gold. 

"The Indians collect about the fort in great numbers during the winter, 
as many as five or six hundred being there at one time. They live in the 
usual manner — in brush huts — a short distance below the fort. They make 
beautiful baskets or trays of a strong round grass, which they weave so 
tightly and evenly that the baskets will hold water, and they are sometimes 
used to hold water while it is made to boil by throwing in heated stones. 
One mile below the fort is the ferrv across the river. The trade is chiefly 
with, emigrants, miners and the Indians. 

"During our stay at camp. Captain Love at the head of a party of 
rangers arrived, bringing with him the head of the notorious robber chief, 
Joaquin Muerto fMurieta). They had surprised Joaquin with his party in a 
pass of the Coast Range and after a short fight, shot him through the head. 
(Note was also made that the rangers had been obliged to swim one of the 
sloughs in what is now called the West Side and that one of the prisoners 
was drowned.) 

"The temperature of this valley or at least of our camp ground is 
worthy of note. Each day was like the preceding and the unclouded sun 
seemed to have a remarkable heating power. The high hills on each side 
prevented a free circulation of air and reflected back the heat. The thermom- 
eter during the middle part of the day seldom indicated a temperature 
lower th.an 96 degrees F. and generallv stood from 100 degrees to 104 
degrees in the shade, in some localities 115 degrees." 



84 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

LISTED ON ASSESSMENT ROLLS 

It goes without saying that in those unsettled early days of the 50's- 
directories were unknown. In fact none was published in the county until 
the small afifair of the spring of 1881, the names for which were "chased up" 
by R. W. Riggs, the photographer and historian of Pine Ridge, and S. L. 
Pettit, a nephew of Petroleum V. Nasby, the humorist philosopher. The 
pretentious county directory was in 1899-1900, but the assessment rolls for 
1856 and 1857, unearthed for this history, list the subjoined established indi- 
viduals and business partnerships for the first two years of county organiza- 
tion, and it is to be presumed that few were overlooked. Incidentally the 
rolls disclose the fact that canines were assessed $1.50 for the male and $3 
for the female dog. The listed are: 

1856— B. A. Andrews, Harvey Akers, Henry Adams, Frank Armstrong, Aaron Arnold,. 
R. A. Appling, Thos. J. Allen, J. B. Aldrich, Fernando Ardero. 

1857— Ah Sam & Co., Ah Quie, John Anderson, J. S. Ashman, \Vm. Adshead, Ah 
Kow, C. Abell. 

Wm, T., Jerrj- and Chas. BrowTi, Wilev and Henr\' Burroughs, Brown & Hadden, 
David Beebe, Thos. Boyce, Benj. M. Branson, Leo. Boldero, W. W. Bourland, John 
Besore, Tohn Bostick, T. H. and Alex Ball, A. C. Bullock, F. L. Barthold, Isaac Baker, 
Geo. F.,'T. W. E. and Q. M. Brown, T. B. Brown & Co., Robert Bransford, A. H. and 
W. C. Bradley. 

1857— M. 'D. Bullard, P. A. Banta, C. Benbrook, Bufford & Bullock, Burroughs & 
Hughes, M. Bergen. 

W. I. and Samuel B. Campbell, Hugh A. Carroll, E. J. Curr}', W. D. Chapman, Wm. 
P. Cruikshank, Geo. M. Carson, S. M. Cunningham, S. B. Coffee, J. G. Clark, Samuel 
Chidester, Hugh Carlin, Chung Chong & Co., Carman, Mcintosh & Wilson, Ocenitio 
Coetro, S. F. Cummings, Chas. P. Converse, Andrew Cathay. 

1857— A. Coffey, Carson & Parks, Coffee & Shannon, Crow & Thwing, J. P. Cruik- 
shank, Hewlett Clark, Homer Cogswell, A. Chambers, E. G. Campbell, C. Castro, Carman 
& Co., J. G. Collins, W. C. Carville, A. P. Cromble. 

Samuel Dinlev, Moses Damron, Jack Delo, Donelson & Linton, Wm. & L. D. Doug- 
lass, F. B. C. Duff. 

1857 — A. Drumm, Wm. Darwin. 

Gomer Evans, Raphaele Europe, F. M. Edgar, F. M. Eagan, Selander Eubank. 

Levi D., Tosiah and Wm. Ferguson, Mathew Frouth, Fitzgerald & Co., Robt. I. Finch,. 
Samuel Frakes & Co., T. B. Fofsom. Fisher & Gill, Geo. N. and Robt. J. Finch, Fort 
Miller W. & M. Co., reduced from $25,000 to $10,000. 

1857— Frakes & Yancey, Faust & Parish, Wm. Faymonville, Richard, James M. and W. 
Glenn, Geo. M. Garish, John Gilmore, Stephen Gaster & Co., Jos. R. Gashwiler. 

1857 — A. B. Grovemv, Pat Gibney, Geo. Grierson, A. Gore, Geo Goforth, Daniel 
Gibbs. 

Thos Hucklebv, Wm. J. Harris, Jacob Howell, John R. Hughes, Hughes & Co., John 
L. Hunt & Co., Chas. A. Hart, Herold & Harrison, Hildreth & Rea, W. W. Hill & Fink,. 
John Hughes. 

1857— Henry Hickman, Hunt & Nichols, Ly Mon Mong, J. T. Hamlet, Geo. S. 
Harden, H. E. Howard, Hazelton & Patterson, Henr\- Havs, Thos. and T. E. Haddon,. 
T. F. Hitchcock, David Hucklebv, Clark Hoxie, Harrison & Herrill, Thos. Hurst, A. 
"Heath, E. P. Hart, Henrice & Co. 

1857— Wm. and Robt. Innes. 

Jacobs & Co., Henr\- lewett, Tohnson & Co., John Johnson. 

1857— D. J. and E.' Johnson, Martha Jones. 

Ah Kon.g, Sin Kav, Keith & Ridgwav. 

1857— Ed'wd. King. " 

John Ledford, Samuel S. Lovejoy, A. Layne & Co., Dr. Lewis Leach, S. H., M. B. and 
Jonathan Lewis, Levi Loler. 

1857— Robert Larrimore, J. H., T. M. and W. M. M. Lewis, P. Lynch, Samuel Langdon. 

Samuel McClatchey, Henry Matterson, Gabriel Moore, A. McRobinson, Mayfield & 
Co., J. R. Munn & Co., Samuel Mcintosh, Levi Mitchell, J. Y. Moore, Ira McCray & Co., 
W. A. McCreary & Co., Andrew McKenna, Bertha Mathew, Robt. Murray, Beveano' 
Moraga, Labran Mathews, Herman Mathews, Herman Masters, R. P. Mace. 

1857 — Henry Myers, Henr\- Mann, J. D. Mace, Thos. Maguire, Jesse Morrow, Mont- 
gomer\- & Co., James Mathews, Wm. Martin, W. T. and J. P. Moore, Chas. Mitchell. 

H. R. Nobles, Neleigh & Co., 26,660 acres at $33,330. 

P. B. Neal, Jose Orevania, J. B. O'Reily, Domingo Ortego, Ramon Ovasa. 

Tohn Poole, Tohn A. Patterson & Co., lleonard Patton, H. S. Pope, Chas. Peterson,. 
Parslev & Faust, H. E. Parrish, Frank Phillips. K. L. Pern-. 

1857— Edwd. Pratharo, Billy Patterson, W. H. Parker. Henn,- F. Pitts, W. E. Price. 

Rodgers & Laverty, James Richards, Harr\- Rickard, Andrew Reinlein, Reed & Swan,. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 85 

Leonard, Daniel and James B. Reed, J. Y. Ross & Co., J. M. Roane, Jos. Raggio, Wm. 

18S7_A. M. Rogers, J. R. Richards, R. Robbins, Royal & Gaster, Jonathan P. Ross, 
Rhoades & Co., Hugh Regan. , , , c- t ■ c • 

Geo. Sharpton, Albert H. Statham, Smith & Crumley, John L. Stewart, Levi Slein- 
hoff, John P. and John Simpson, M. E. Sinsabaugh, Ira Stroud, Stroud & Co., L. C. 
Shackford, M. M. Saxton, Henry Strong, Noah Stilts, Alex. Saier, David Swan & Co., 
Geo. Sovereign, Wm. Y. Scott, Stewart, Neleigh & Crosby, nine leagues of land $50,000, 
Domingo Salinger, Cyrus Sanford, R. Sheldon, T. C. Stallo, James Sayles Jr., Wm. 
Savage, Chas. Simpson. 

1857— J. S. Smith, Sim Kee & Co., Stroud & Bowles, Samuel Smoot, James Smith, 
E D Scales, David Selander, C. D. Simpson, John Svlvester, F. Smith, Wm. Suther- 
land, A. Strickard, J. G. Simpson, Jas. F. Stewart, Steinhoff & Mitchell, G. W. Stall. 

Tas. Tucker, W. H. Thompson, G. B. Taylor, Chas. R. Thurman, Stacy Taylor, A. 
Thibault, Peter Tracy, W. B. Taylor & Cormack, Frank Temple & Co. 

1857— J. A. Tivey, Wm. Neely Thompson. 

1857 — James Urquhart. 

John Villet, L. D. Vinsenhaler. 

1857— Thos. Vinsenhaler. 

J. W., Geo., John, James E. and A, Williams, Ah Wong Lee, Wan & Co., Walker 
& Co., J. N. and' C. F. Walker, Levi Womack, Jas. W. Waters, B. Wilson & Sanford, 
Woodworth Wallace, Waters Paris, Woodworth & Co., H. A. and Jas. Wallace, Morgan 
J. Wells, John G. Ward, M. D. Wilson. 

1857— Michael Woods, H. B. Workman, L. A. Whitmore, Enoch Wright. 

1857— J. A. Young. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Memories Cluster Thick About Millerton. A Mental Picture 
OF THE Fort. Picturesqueness of the Mining Days. Freight 
Teams, Mounted Express and Stages Enlivened the Vil- 
lagers. A Red Letter Week in 1853 for Excitement. En- 
forcing State Foreign Miner's Tax and Consequent 
Results. Joaquin Murieta and His State Reign of Terror. 
Garcia as the Monster of the Bandit Band. Capture by 
Rangers Near Tulare Lake. Rewards of $6,000 Paid by the 
State, With Rejoicing General. 

About Millerton and its protecting appendage, Fort Miller, the first 
of these for a decade and a half after county organization, the social, political, 
governmental and population center, cluster most of the memories of the 
long ago. No more alluring natural spot than the fort site could have been 
selected. It was on the shelving, grass-grown, south bank of the river at 
one of the widest reaches, so that it was never in danger of flood such as 
twice visited Millerton, the last on a Christmas eve washing away nearly 
half the village and causing a property loss from which it never recovered. 
In that flood the water in the river rose a full twenty-four feet, maintained 
with little appreciable fall for as many hours. Fort site was a garden spot 
in spring and autumn, but in summer because in a pocket of sheltering, 
surrounding low hills, a perfect bake-oven. 

Fort Miller was located at the highest practical point on the river, all 
things considered. Above it and Fine Gold Creek, the stream is impassable, 
rushing out of a mountainous precipitous gorge. It was to place it with.in 
easy reacli of the hill country beyond, and especiallv to aftord protection to 
the miners at Cassady's Bar, across the range and due east and south of 
the fort on the river bend, that the ancient trail, traversable to this day, 
was laid out across the hills back of the fort. At Millerton the river runs 
due east and west, the fort facing the stream to the north. Its northern 
edge was built up to and partly hung over the river bank in early days. It is 



86 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

not to say either that the river at the fort was always confined to the present 
bed. The fort is at the mouth of a long and serpentine ravine running far 
above and back into the foothills and mountains beyond. 

The site was originally thickly covered with oak trees. These were 
felled for the logs in construction, as well as to leave a clearing as a mili- 
tary prerequisite. The fort enclosure was a quadrangle, surrounded by a 
stone and adobe wall, five or six feet high, and faced the river. From Miller- 
ton, the fort is not visible, the western view being shut of? by a rocky 
promontory which projects to the river bank about halfway between fort 
and village, which are a mile or more apart. The nearest courthouse eave- 
corner is barely discernible from the fort. The latter was not unlike many 
another. 

The guardhouse was long ago razed, leaving only the rock-walled, iron- 
barred, ventilation-holed excavated dungeon. It stood at the northwest 
corner of the quadrangle and near it was presumably the main fort entrance 
from town. Facing the parade ground and at the upper edge, with the flag 
staflf in the center, was the roomy, one-story headquarters and commandant's 
residence with veranda, and on the line to its left two smaller adobe officer's 
quarters. The parade ground was enclosed on the right by the long, low, 
wooden barracks shed and on the side backing the river were the stables 
and the quartermaster's department sheds in continuation of the barracks. 
In rear of headquarters, the sloping hillside was dotted by the post garden, 
the smithy, the bake-oven, powder magazine, the two-story, sunny hospital, 
and nearly on top of the hill spur the little post cemetery. 

The ancient blockhouse, the oldest standing building in the county 
today, in the construction of which not a nail entered as the logs were dove- 
tailed and mortised, stands outside of the quadrangle. A group of military 
and farm structures clustered on the blockhouse side at one time, so that 
the fort surroundings had the appearance of being quite a pretentious set- 
tlement. Blockhouse, standing now in solitude, is often overlooked by sight- 
seeing visitors. Indeed many labor under the delusion that Millerton and 
fort site are one and the same thing, and that the courthouse was a jail 
instead of a general county government building, jail included in the base- 
ment. 

The post had accommodations for a garrison of two cavalry troops or 
two batteries of artillery serving as infantry, with detachments in charge of 
light field pieces. Its military history is brief and comparatively speaking 
uneventful. 

The kitchen addition to headquarters, and connected with, the dining 
room at the eastern angle, is a blockhouse of hewn timber, held in place by 
uprights and the interstices filled with mud to make solid walls. Under roof 
protection, the soundness and preservation of these oaken logs showing 
the marks of th.e hewer's ax are worthy of note. In the garden in the rear 
of headquarters are umbrageous and prolific orange trees, which in earlier 
days were a seven day's wonder, to see which people travelled miles. They 
were, so it is said, the first orange trees set out anywhere in the valley, this 
side of Stockton. 

The blockhouse was erected in 1851 as a temporarv defense in advance 
of the actual construction of the fort. At about the height that a man within 
would hold a rifle in the act of aiming the weapon on a rest, runs around 
the building a thick plank pierced with loopholes, each about a foot square. 

All the habitable reservation structures have, in their day, been used 
as private dwellings, even to the barracks and h.ospital, for Millerton never 
had a building boom and accommodations for the visitor or newcomer were 
often at a premium. After abandonment of the fort it became the home of 
Judge C. A. Hart, was so occupied for years, and there he died. Having all 
been in almost continuous occupancy, fort buildings are fairly well preserved, 
though the boards protecting the adobe outside walls have been punctured by 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 87 

generations of wood-peckers for the storing of acorns. The blockhouse, sad 
to tell, is relegated to the base use of a cowshed. 

The enclosing wall has long ago disappeared, so have the stables and 
quartermaster's sheds. The cemetery graves, with a few exceptions where 
no one came forward to make claim, were emptied long ago also, and the 
military dead removed to the national cemetery at the San Francisco Pre- 
sidio on final evacuation of the fort. The disinterments were principally 
among the later graves in the newer portions of the cemetery nearest the 
fort buildings. The last exhumation was that of the remains of the old-time 
sheriff, J. S. Ashman. The grave of the little Stiddam girl is the onlv marked 
sepulch.er left in the burial ground — the rust eaten, iron fenced sunken 
grave of an infant. Frances E. Stiddam, who died October 21, ISfil, and 
concerning whose kin all trace or knowledge has been lost. 

The fort is used now as the farmhouse of the 14,000-acre cattle ranch, 
including townsite, of the W. H. McKenzie estate, taking in land on both 
sides of the river and in two counties as the San Joaquin is the boundary 
with Madera on the north. 

THE PICTURESQUE WAS NOT LACKING 

The picturesque was not lacking at Millerton in the mining days. In- 
dians were a common-place sight in times of idling peace, to fill out the 
picture, what with one rancheria below the village and another on the bare 
bluffs on the other side of the river, facing the town. Thev begged for food, 
pilfered small things, did chores for money or a meal, or came to sell salmon 
speared in the stream, or small game snared or shot in the hillsides, while 
the squaw with papoose strapped on back in chokoni f canopied basket). 
came to barter her h.andiwork in beaded belts or moccasins, or woven reed 
baskets. 

The rough and sun-blistered miner was of course very much in evidence 
in flaming red shirt, whatever the thermometer, heavy water-proof topboots 
with pantaloons tucked in them, and ostentatiouslv displaying pistol and 
bowie knife in belt, whether arriving new comer with pack on burro look- 
ing for a prospect, or whether one already located and at the village with 
pack animals to stock up provisions, and never forgetting a goodlv supply 
of aqua fortis for snakebites, or as a sovereign preventive against chills and 
colds as the result of working in the wet slush about rocker or cradle on 
river or creek bank. 

The swarthv Sonoran was there in his wide sombrero, gaudy colored 
neckcloth and often in serape covering his shoulders, gliding about furtively 
because he was not always looked upon with favor. The meekest, most docile 
and unobtrusive was the blue-bloused, cow-hide booted, bowl-shaped, bam- 
boo-hatted Chinaman, working over the tailings that others had abandoned 
after winnowing the surface "color." A few Chinese women there were also, 
and never did one amble down the village street from Chinatown at the 
upper end of it beyond the later courthouse but she attracted general notice, 
even admiration, for woman was yet a curiosity. And last but not least 
during the days of the fort occupation, there were the off-duty soldiers kill- 
ing dull time and not looking the trim and natty men at arms as of the 
days long after the war. The Indians regarded them as veritable demi gods 
though, sober or not. 

The arrival in dust cloud of freight team, mounted express or passenger 
stage was always an event that assembled the villagers. Steamers later 
landed at the head of Fresno Slough on the West Side and teams hauled 
freight to Visalia and other southern points, or eastward to Millerton or 
into the mines. The mounted express for the conveyance of gold dust, mail 
and small packages was the rapid transit means to the mines, for post 
offices there were at first none, and express companies handled the mail. 



88 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Adams & Company succeeded by \\'ells, Fargo & Company were in their 
day the carriers and did an immense and profitable mail and passenger busi- 
ness that was practically a monopoly for years. For the conveyance of dust 
or bullion, they were the only safe and responsible agencies, every coach 
carrying shotgun messengers to guard and protect the treasure. In 1857 
Thomas M. Heston ran a stage (called the Rabbit Skin Express) from 
Hornitas to Visalia via Millerton, and the Silman lines made regular stage 
trips from Stockton to Millerton via Tuolumne City, Paradise City, Empire 
City, Snelling and Plainsburg. Later Silman & Carter also ran a stage from 
the Slough City to Visalia via Millerton. 

Thomas M. Heston was represented to be "a whole-souled fellow and a 
good citizen." He was elected an assemblyman, and attended the eleventh 
legislative session in 1860, and in those days to be a successful stageman 
one had to be a popular idol — a very lacquered tin-god on wheels. Heston 
was believed to have been murdered afterwards near Esmeralda Mining Dis- 
trict, his remains having been identified by the gold filling in his teeth.. But 
the California State Blue Book records that he was drowned in the Kern 
River in 1863. 

The isolation of Millerton is not sufficiently appreciated in these days 
of hourly trains and of rapid transportation by Owl, Limited, Angel and all 
the other lightning express trains, in these hurry-scurry days of telegraph, 
telephone, long distance phones, special delivery mail, parcels post, wireless 
telegraphy and flying machines. This isolation was an inconvenience as late 
as February, 187L in that it took then three days to go from Millerton to 
the near cities as follows : One day to Hornitas in Mariposa, sixty miles ; 
one day from Hornitas to Modesto, forty miles, and then on the th,ird day by 
the cars to San Francisco or Stockton. It was declared in all sobriety that 
under the existing schedule and if one were in a hurry to go to San Fran- 
cisco one could do so more quickly by stage riding to A^isalia, sixty-five 
miles south, and then staging it to destination, gaining nearly two hours in 
time. The railroad had then built as far only as Modesto, with finishing 
work on the railroad bridge across the Tuolumne. Snelling was then the 
county seat. It was changed to Modesto with the advent of the railroad. 

In May, 1870, a mail route from the New Idria quicksilver mines (now 
located in San Benito County just beyond the Fresno County line) via 
Panoche Valley, Firebaugh Ferry, Areola (now Borden in ]\Iadera County) 
and Millerton, with an office at Areola, was urged because as represented 
then the mine residents must come twenty miles to Millerton for their mail, 
while mail from Millerton to the New Idrians and Panoche Valleyites went 
to Stockton, thence to Gilroy in Santa Clara County, thence to the place of 
destination, journeying nearly 500 miles in a circle to cover about sixty or 
seventy in a direct line. 

The people of Buchanan (a deserted copper mining camp now in Ma- 
dera County) were as urgently in need of a postofiice. They were forced to 
come to Millerton. fifteen miles distant, for their mail and th.is too in the 
face of the fact that it passed through the camp to go to Alillerton for dis- 
tribution. 

A RED LETTER WEEK FOR EXCITEMENT 

A red letter week for unwonted excitement must have been the closing 
one in July, 1853, when the railroad route topographical survey part}' and 
its train of baggage wagons raised the dust of town towards a camp at the 
fort, followed in a day or so by Harry S. Love"s dust-powdered cavalcade of 
twenty rangers, in redhot from the killing of Bandit Joaquin Murieta, 
whose head was brought in pickle, also the hand of Manuel Garcia, "Three 
Fingered Jack." Garcia was also decapitated but the skull was so shattered 
with Love's shots that it could not be preserved and was cast to the coyotes. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 89 

The survey partv was protected by a detachment of dragoons, commanded 
by Lieut. George Stoneman. Little dreamed he then of the honors in store 
for him as a cavalry and corps commander ten years later in the war, or 
that in 1879 under the new constitution he would be elected one of the 
state's first railroad commissioners and on his masterly negative record as 
the minority member of three he would pave the easy way for the 1883-87 
governorship of the state. 

Certain, however, that a vermilion hued dash of color was given to 
the picture when there came into the village the sunbrowned gun fighters 
of Love, deputy sh.erifif of Los Angeles, a Texan, who had served as scout 
and express rider in the Mexican War and inured himself to border dangers 
and hardships. Bancroft describes him as "a law abiding desperado who de- 
lighted to kill wild men and wild beasts," a leader "with bright, burning 
and glossy ringlets falling over his shoulders," one who "wore a sword given 
by a Spanish count whom he had rescued from the savages." a personage 
the "way and walk of whom were knightly as of ancient cavalier," while 
"savages he had butchered until the business afforded him no further pleas- 
ure." That in the rude frontier settlement of rough men as at Millerton, 
Love was lionized goes without saying. Among his gun men were Harvey, 
who murdered Savage, and Philemon T. Herbert, the California congress- 
man (1855-56), who distinguished himself by shooting an inoffensive negro 
hotel waiter in Washington. 

Truth to tell, th.e end of Murieta, with his pickled head as evidence of 
the fact, and the extermination of his band of cutthroats were events of state 
wide moment, the importance of which cannot be measured in these staid 
days of governmental regulation. The end of Murieta, described by Ban- 
croft as the "King of California Cutthroats." and the "Fra Diavolo of El 
Dorado," merits more than passing reference, because a state verily rejoiced 
in h.is death. 

One unquestioned result of the enforcement of the foreign miner's tax 
law was the prejudice which it fomented, depriving many of employment 
and driving them to theft and even murder. This prejudice was evidenced in 
the passage, by the first legislature in April, 1850. of this tax law. It forbade 
anyone mining in the state, unless holding a thirty-days' twenty-dollar 
license, the sheriff empowered to assemble a posse of Americans to drive 
him off on nonpayment, and the governor's appointed tax gatherers receiv- 
ing three dollars out of every license collected, to make them active and per- 
sistent. In March, 1851, this trouble-making law was repealed, but subse- 
quently another was enacted fixing the license at four dollars per month 
and making the sheriffs the collectors. Except for harassing the inoffensive 
Chinese, it was not always strictly enforced. Persecution in 1850 growing 
out of this tax, in being driven from the Stanislaus River, followed by bind- 
ing to a tree and public flogging in Calaveras, on an unfounded charge of 
horse stealing is said to have prompted Murieta to take an oath of vengeance 
that was relentlessly kept, sparing not even the innocent, such an implacable 
foe of every Gringo American came he to be. 

Besides the tax, there were laws prohibiting mining by any save such as 
could or intended to become citizens, and regulations of this character were 
not unusual in the Southern Alines until the four-dollar tax law was passed. 
But it was when the Chinese began to flock into the mining regions that 
th.e most violent hatred of the foreign element was aroused by their thrift 
and industry and the withdrawal of gold for which, as claimed, they left 
no compensating return. Driven from the mines, the Chinese accommodated 
themselves to the situation and became house servants, work hands and 
railroad builders, working more injury to white labor than if they had been 
left undisturbed in the mines among only a restricted class as to number. 

For some years in connection with the tax collections, the waste upper 
San Joaquin Valley region, and especially that west of Tulare Lake was 



90 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

roamed over by bands of Spanish speaking vagabonds, whose nominal voca- 
tion was running mustangs, but whose real activities were robbery and the 
protection of robbers. In October, 1855, the evil had so grown that on the 
Merced a company of rangers was formed and a bloody fight was had on 
the Chowchilla River with a band of horse and mule thieves. Sherifif's 
posses after these bands were not infrequent, nor sanguinary encounters 
either. 

It is an interesting coincidence that in his career Murieta came in early 
contact with Ira McCraj^ who was such a notable and conspicuous personage 
in the history of Millerton. It was about 1853 in Tuolumne County, at Saw- 
mill Flat that McCray was a store keeper and obnoxious, to Murieta and 
his band, and that attempt was made to poison the spring furnishing drink- 
ing water. Fortunately the poison was so liberally applied that the project 
failed. McCray and others, it was said, had been marked for death and 
report had it that the store was to be robbed on a certain night. A mes- 
senger was sent to Columbia for aid, and in response came, with a little 
field piece that was discharged at frequent intervals to announce its ap- 
proach, a military company under Thos. N. Cazneau, who was state adjutant 
general under Governor Haight in 1870-71, but removed from office. There 
was no robbery attack on the store, but there was such a cleanup of eat- 
ables and drinkables at the Flat by the soldiers after the day's march that 
it was a debatable question whether a raid by the robbers would not have 
been preferable to the protection of the soldiery. 

THE NAPOLEON OF THE CANYONS 

To quote Bancroft, "Murieta stood head and shoulders over all knights 
of the road in California, if not indeed superior to the most famous high- 
waymen recorded in the annals of other countries." He was only a few 
months more than twenty-one when he died, after "a brilliant career of crime" 
of less than three years. Bancroft asserts that "the terms brave, daring and 
able faintly express his qualities," drawing then the far-fetched comparison 
that "in the canyons of California he was what Napoleon was in the cities 
of Europe." It is needless to recite details of his many crimes. Educated in 
the school of revolution in ^Mexico, it was an easy gradation for him to 
consider himself the champion of his countrymen rather than an outlaw. 

The terror of the Stanislaus, his history "though crimson with murder, 
abounds in dramatic interest." In a few months he headed an organized 
band that ravaged in every direction, and he "gave proof every day of 
possessing a peculiar genius for controlling the most accomplished scoun- 
drels that had ever congregated in Christendom." They operated principally 
in Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties, but covered the state at 
large in their impartial distribution of murderous attentions. For nearly 
three years, Murieta flitted between town and country, snapping fingers in 
the face of authorities and the populace, while throughout the length and 
breadth of the interior valley from Shasta to Tulare, and along the coast 
line of missions, the country lamented its dead and rang with demands for 
his capture, dead or alive. Joaquin lived mostly about the towns but kept 
his henchmen informed of what was going on and of the opportunities for 
plunder. 

One of the secluded rendezvous places of the band was in the Arroyo 
de Cantua foothills on the West Side of Fresno County, where to this day 
are pointed out caves and watch peaks that served the band. The fraternity 
was sent out for operations in five subdivisions under as many secondary 
chiefs, acting simultaneously in wide]>- scattered sections, and this with the 
membership of Joaquin Valenzuela, with similarity in name and appearance, 
earned for Murieta a reputation with some for ubiquity almost supernatural. 
Indeed upon his death, it was long insisted with dogged pertinacity that he 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 91 

was still alive. In disguise one day at Stockton, he halted his horse to read 
a tacked up handbill offering $1,000 for his capture, and he nonchalantly 
added in pencil, "I will give $5,000 — Joaquin." 

The monster of the band was Manuel Garcia. "Three Fingered Jack," 
from the loss of a finger in the war with Mexico. This most sanguinary 
wretch^ was no less conspicuous for savage cruelty as for courage. To grat- 
ify his lust for human butchery, he adopted as his specialty the throat- 
slitting of Chinamen. Sometimes he pistoled them, but this was too tame 
work. He would seize them by the queue and with, a twist peculiar to his 
practiced hand threw up the chin, presenting an unobstructed mark. His 
boast was that out of every ten not more than five escaped his aim. 

At last the people of the state were aroused against this saturnalia 
of crime and butcheries as a reflection on their manhood in permitting it 
to go unchecked so long, and in March, 1853, the legislature passed an act 
empowering Love to bring out a ranger company of twenty mountaineers 
of experience, bravery and tested nerve to hunt down the marauders. Love 
followed on the trail, spying by night and keeping close cover by da}'. On 
Sunday, July 25, 1853, he and eight rangers came upon a party of seven 
camping west of Tulare Lake, six seated around a fire at breakfast. Murieta 
gave the alarm and threw himself on the back of his saddleless and bridle- 
less horse, speeded down the mountain side, leaped the animal over a preci- 
pice but falling with him was on his feet again, remounted and dashed on. 
The rangers close at his heels fired and the bay steed was shot in the side 
and fell. Joaquin ran afoot and received three balls in the liody. He turned 
on his pursuers, saving. "It is enough ; the work is done," reeled, fell on 
right arm and died without groan. Garcia being cornered, fought but was 
overcome, after riding five miles and being shot nine times. 

Love afterward received the $1,000 reward offered by the governor, 
and the legislature of 1854 generously added $5,000. the rangers having 
been engaged for $150 a month. The head of Murieta and the mutilated 
hand of Garcia were on August 18, 1853, advertised in San Francisco on 
exhibition at King's saloon at Halleck and Sansome streets — admission one 
dollar. Certificates of identitv Avere attached of persons who had known 
Joaquin. These gruesome relics fell, in later years, into th.e hands of an 
anatomical museum, and were presumably destroyed in the big" fire of 
April, 1906. The superstitious made much of the growth after death of 
Joaquin's hair and of the nails on Garcia's hand, but pshaw! there have 
been more lurid and incredible tales told about Murieta and his band of a 
half hundred than were ever circulated concerning Robin Hood, Rob Roy, 
Fra Diavolo, Capt. John Kidd, Jonathan Wild, Jack Sheppard, Robert Ma- 
caire, and all the other unmentioned famous outlaws of history. 



CHAPTER XV 

Fresno Cuts Loose From Mariposa, the Mother County. 
Population and Property Increases. It Organizes as a 
County. First Published Mentions Were as "Frezno." 
Needs for Independent Political Organization. First 
Elected County Officials. For Many Years a Democratic 
Stronghold. A Statistical Curiosity of 1857. Year of 
Birth, the Remarkable One of the Great Vigilance Com- 
mittee. "Lone Republican of Fresno." A Year of Modest 
and Small Beginnings. 

For about six years, the territory now comprised in Fresno County, and 
more too, was tied to the governmental apron strings of Mariposa, the 



92 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

mother county in the San Joaquin Valley, once regarded by common consent 
as a part of that geographical myth mapped on ancient charts as "The 
Great American Desert." A time came to cut loose and assume political 
majority as a county. Fresno, Merced and Mono were originally comprised 
in Mariposa, and all of Madera, parts of Kings and San Benito in Fresno. 
Mariposa had, in 1850. a population of 4.879, and in 1860, of 6,243. As 
showing the population increase of Fresno, there are the decade census 
returns as follows: 

1860 4,605 1890 32,026 

1870 6,336 1900 37,862 

1880 9,478 1910 75.657 

And in further proof that Fresno was not standing still but slowly 
developing her resources, despite drought and flood years, the following 
assessment figures are quoted for the first twenty years : 

Year. Property Value. Total Taxes. 

1856 $431,403.60 $ 7,345.96 

1860 931,007.00 14,895.86 

1864 728,040.00 18,753.19 

1868 2,366.025.00 55,143.40 

1872 5,556,801.00 69,460.01 

1876 8,292.918.00 136.431.48 

The mining and lumber industries, the growth of agriculture, which had 
made a promising beginning, and the location of the military post h.ere for 
the entire valley region had attracted a population, which had to transact 
its public and court business at Mariposa as the county seat, going thither 
from the farthermost end of the territory, involving a tedious and costly 
roadless journey over steep and rugged mountains and at times across dan- 
gerous streams. Th.is was a growing source of expense to the individual, as 
well as to the taxpayers, for which those in the southernmost section on the 
San Joaquin received little return. The distance was so great and the isolation 
so marked that little attention was paid this section in the matter of roads 
or bridges or public needs — the territory was a source of revenue to Mariposa 
Count}' while receiving comparatively no return. Th.e county's territory was 
so immense, the revenue so limited in view of the sparse population and the 
many pressing demands of the new region, and the conditions so unsettled that 
the mother county could really not do much in a tangible way. 

These conditions could not be worse but might be improved with home 
government and the spending of the tax revenue nearer home. They led to 
the county organization movement, and a petition to the legislature of 1856, 
resulting in the enabling statute of April 19 and the creative enactment of 
May 26. In petition and acts the original spelling of the conntv's name was 
"Frezno." a phonetic version that was soon abandoned. Millerton as the 
then most populous center was regarded as the logical place for the county 
seat — in fact could not then have had a rival. To organize the new county, 
seven commissioners were named in the act — Charles A. Hart, Ira McCray, 
James Cruikshank, H. A. Carroll, O. M. Brown, J. W. Gilmore arid H. M. 
Lewis. The last named two were absent from the meeting at McCray's hotel 
on May 26, 1856, to organize and order for June 9 an election for county 
officers and to vote on county organization, which was accepted as a foregone 
conclusion. Cruikshank, a lawyer, was chairman and Carroll secretary of the 
commission, and the county legal machinery was duly set in operation. The 
first mentions of the new county are in the legislative proceedings and in the 
State Register for 1857, a publication on the Blue Book order. The latter's 
mention is reproduced as a present day curiosity: 

FREZNO COUNTY 
(County Seat — Millerton) 
Frezno County, organized 1856. Boundaries : North by Merced and Mariposa, east by 
Utah Territory, south by Tulare, and west by Monterey. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 93 

TOPOGRAPHY— This county was formed from portions of Mariposa, Merced and 
Tulare, and contains that section of the mining region known as the extreme Southern 
Mines. The agricultural land in the county is situated in the vicinity of King's River, and 
is represented to be well adapted for grazing purposes. Number of acres in cultivation, 
including the Reservations, 2,000. 

LEGAL DISTANCES — Not yet established by law (from Millerton to Stockton about 
140 miles). 

OFFICERS 
Office. Name. Residence. Salary. 

■County Judge Chas. A. Hart Millerton $2,500 

District Attorney J. C. Craddock Millerton 1,000 

County Clerk and Recorder.. I. S. Sayles Tr Millerton 1,000 

Sheriff and Tax Collector.. W. C. Bradley Millerton 1,000 

Treasurer Geo. Rivercombe Millerton 1,000 

Assessor John G. Simpson Millerton 1,000 

Surveyor C. M. Brown :Millerton 1 ,000 

Coroner Dr. Du Gay ^Millerton Fees 

Public Administrator James Smith .Kings River Fees 

Supervisor John R. Hughes Millerton Per diem 

Supervisor John A. Patterson Kings River Per diem 

Supervisor John L. Hunt Huntsville Per diem 

(The terms of all of these expired in October, 1858.) 

THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT— Hon. Edward Burke, of Mariposa, judge 
district court ; sessions, second Monday, March, Julv and November. 

SIXTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT— Senator : Hon. Samuel A. Merritt of Mari- 
posa ; term expires January, 1859. 

MEMBER OF ASSEMBLY— Hon. Orson K. Smith of Woodville. 

AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES— Wheat, 1,000 acres; barley, 500 acres, and vege- 
tables, 500 acres. 

FRUIT TREES— But little attention has as yet been devoted to the culture of fruit. 
There are two vineyards in a forward state, and a few fruit trees, which appear to thrive 
remarkably well. 

LIVE STOCK— Horses, 1,400; mules, 200; asses, 150; cattle, 18,650; calves, 2,650; 
sheep, 1,000; swine, 4,000; goats, 50; total 28,100. Assessed value, $360,000. 

MINERAL RESOURCES — There are several important mining streams, principally 
worked by Chinamen. Amount of foreign miner's tax collected $1,000 per month. 

WATER DITCHES, ETC. — There are two extensive water ditches in the course 
of completion; one steam saw- mill and two quartz veins, represented to be remarkably rich. 

MILITARY POST AND INDIAN RESER\-ATIONS— Fort Miller, Frezno Farm 
and King's River Farm Resenations are located in this countv. 

FINANCES— Receipts from date of organization July 1 to December 1, 1856, $6,281.15; 
expenditures, $4,268. Amount of taxable property, principally stock, $400,000, tax col- 
lected, $6,912; foreign miner's tax collected $1,200 per month. 

POPULATION— Votes cast, 319; Indians, 1,300. 

ATTORNEYS— Millerton : O. M. Brown, H. Clark and Tames T. Cruickshank. 

PHYSICIANS— Fort Miller: Wm. J. L. Engle ; Frezno River: D. J. Johnson, Lewis 
Leach; Millerton: W. A. N. Dulgnay (Du Gay). 

The first meeting of the supervisors-elect was held on June 23 of Hughes 
and Patterson, J. M. Roan having failed to qualify wherefore Hunt was 
chosen at a special election ordered at this initial session, besides wh.ich the 
county was declared formally organized. Patterson was succeeded by J. E. 
Williams in February. 1857, Clark Hoxie elected in :May to succeed Hunt 
and S. W. Rankin in August to supersede Hughes. 

1856 — Fresno's birthyear is a memorable one in the annals of the state, 
being the year of the extraordinary reign of the great Vigilance Committee, 
"the most formidable public tribunal in the history of modern civilization," 
that ushered an era of moral, civic and political scouring and scrubbing, 
wh.ose befteficial effect was experienced for a generation. Governor Johnson, 
who, with Gen. T. W. Sherman, was arrayed against the committee, referred 
to its deliberations as "turbulence and strife without a parallel in the re- 
corded annals of our nation." 

Politically, California voted at its first two presidential elections as 
follows: 

1852 1856 

Pierce (Dem.) 39,665 Buchanan (Dem.) 53,365 

Scott (Whig) 34,971 Fillmore (Am.) 36,165 

Hale (Free Soil) 100 Fremont (Rep.) 20.691 



94 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

At this November, 1856, first national election, the county went: 

Buchanan 218 

Fillmore 123 

Fremont 1 

The identity of this Republican or Whig voter was no secret. He was 
William Aldridge, and of an age that the younger called him "Dad." 
He was the choresman at Payne's trading post at Coarse Gold, as populous a 
voting district as there was in the territory at the time. He became known 
over the entire state as "the lone Republican of Fresno." Aldridge also mined 
at Fine Gold Gulch. The correct version here given for the first time is 
that he came by his political appellation on account of an incident at the first 
election for Lincoln. The polling place was at Mace's Garden and Captain 
Mace was the judge of election, electors not voting then by ballot but by 
oral announcements of their choice of candidates. Registration of electors was 
an unknown art. Everyone, who was believed to have been born on the soil 
and to have residence, was considered to have a vote. 

In the camp were two notorious, swashbuckling Copperheads known as 
Davis and Hill, very undesirable citizens and later suspected of being mem- 
bers of the terrorizing band in the early sixty's that robbed the cabins of 
Chinese miners of gold dust savings and outrageously maltreated these inof- 
fensives, a reign that was ended only when the community took the matter 
in its own hands and hanged several suspects after "Judge Lynch" trials. 
Davis and Hill loudly boasted about the camp that no blank of a blank of 
an Abolitionist would be permitted to vote that day. Aldridge carried word 
of the threat to Mace and such swift and armed preparations were made that 
when Aldridge offered his vote there was no one to hinder him. 

Hill ran counter, afterward, of Deputy Sherifif "Shorty" Green of Mari- 
posa Count}' in an affair at Indian Gulch in that county and was killed by 
the latter with a pistol bullet that pierced his skull in the forehead center. 
Whatever became of Davis no one recalls. 

Aldridge was an inoffensive old fellow whose Democratic friends good 
naturedly would escort him to the polls, and one of the candidates for gover- 
nor remembered him by sending him a fine hat in care of the county clerk. 
Aldridge declined to wear it until the county should give a Republican major- 
ity, but he passed away and the hat disappeared long before that event came 
to pass in an old time Democratic stronghold, built up by early settlers who 
very generally hailed from the southern states, and strengthened by those 
who came during and after the war and whose sympathies being with, the 
South religiously voted that way. 

Organization year was one of small beginnings with Fresno. In 1856 the 
county was credited with 1,620 acres under cultivation as follows: 

Acres Bushels 

Wheat 1,000 30,000 

Barley 520 20,800 

Oats 100 3,500 

Grapevines were estimated at 2,000. Los Angeles County exceeded every 
other district in the state then in the cultivation of the grape, with 726,000 
growing vines. 

Two canals taking water out of the San Joaquin for mining purposes 
were reported, the first of these almost opposite the fort but never completed. 
These were the Fort Miller Mining and Water Company, two miles long 
and to have cost $100,000: and Mace. Hatch & Company's five-mile canal at 
Clark's Bar. The only steam sawmill was Alex. Ball's, about fifteen miles 
east of Millerton, erected in 1854, operating one saw with capacitv of 6,000 
feet and valued at $8,000. 

Fresno was on one of the seven principal wagon roads leading from 
California to the East — the Tejon route from Stockton via Millerton and 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 95 

the Kings River to the Tejon Pass to Los Angeles, San Bernardino and the 
military road to Salt Lake City, 1,100 miles. 

Lieut. Lucien Loeser of the Third Artillery commanded the garrison 
of three officers and seventy-seven men at Fort Miller. He was the officer 
who was sent from IMonterey to Washington with Colonel Mason's report on 
the gold regions, and carried with him a tea-caddy full of gold dust, besides 
cinnabar from New Almaden. The report was made ten days after the procla- 
mation of the Mexican War peace treaty. 

Hugh Carroll was postmaster at Millerton. and William Innes at Scotts- 
burg, the only ]iostoffices in the count}- at the time. Carroll was another of 
the tri1)e of squawmen, known among the Indians as "What-what," meaning 
goose or gander and applied to him on account of his waddling and 
shuffling gait. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Milestone.? in Millerton's History. Loose and Devil-me-care 
Times. Official Records Exasper.\tingly Incomplete. Con- 
struction OF A Jail a First Consideration. It Proved a 
Veritable White Elephant. Miner's Tax Collections. 
First Sheriff an Incompetent. Boundary Line Disputes 
AND Attempted Land Grabs. Early Licensed Ferries and 
Rate Schedules. Tollhouse Grade as the Beast of Burden 
Killer. Extensive Lumber Operations on Pine Ridge, 
With Ockenden as the Center of Activities. 

The milestones in the eighteen years of Millerton's fleeting history may 
be set down in the following order : 

1851, April — Establishment ^of military post on the south bank of the 
San Joaquin River, one mile abo\'e the later county seat village site. 

1856, May 26 — Meeting of commissioners to arrange for county organiza- 
tion details, with: election of first county officers on June 9. 

September 10 — Fort Miller evacuated. Regarrisoned in August. 1863, dur- 
ing the war and until final abandonment and sale of buildings, not very long 
afterwards. 

1857, February 23 — .\cceptance of first county built jail structure. 
1861-62, "\^'inter — Damaging river flood. 

1865, January 28 — Publication of first number of ten of the Millerton 
Times. 

1867, Summer — Completion of the courthouse and jail. 

1867, December 2-1 — The big flood, with washing away of nearly half the 
village site. 

1870, April 27 — First number of the Weekly Expositor newspaper. 

July 3 — The great fire of Millerton, with destruction of the Henry Hotel 
and reported $8,000 property loss. 

1874, ]\Iarch 23 — Election on removal of county seat. 

September 25 — Removal of county offices to Fresno. 

A writer from memory in the Expositor of January 1, 1879, presenting 
what is the first attempted and at the time the most ambitious efifort at a 
historical write-up of the early days of Fresnci Count v, originated in print 
the since oft quoted description of conditions ruling in Millerton in 1853 that 
has passed down as an accepted historical fact. Said he : "The mines on 
the banks of the river were then rich, and the county officials and the officers 
and men at Fort Miller had a very agreeable time with Millertonites, and 
everything was conducted in a loose, devil-me-care sort of a stvle. County 

5 



96 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

court was adjourned one day to give the jury an opportunity to attend a 
horse race, and the board of supervisors would adjourn twenty times a day in 
order to go and take a drink." (The writer probably meant twenty adjourn- 
ments in a day for twenty drinks, and not twenty adjournments to take one 
drink.) 

The writer of these "Reminiscences of Early Times" in that New Year's 
day number was undoubtedly \\'illiam Faymonville, whose "kindly aid" is 
duly acknowledged editorially. He was an old timer, an office holder as far 
back as February, 1861, when he was appointed assessor to succeed W. H. 
Ci"Owe resigned, elected county clerk and recorder in September, 1863, and 
reelected two years later. He was prominent as a citizen and as a politician 
in Millerton and in Fresno. The earliest mention of him is as an election 
clerk in the fall of 1851 at the Texas Flat (Coarse Gold Gulch) precinct. He 
was in a position to treat from personal knowledge of the early days that 
he wrote about. Anyhow, the social "historical fact" has never been traversed. 

That things in private and public life were "conducted in a loose, devil- 
me-care sort of a style" in those early times in Millerton was true in no 
restricted sense of the expression, and the record bears it out. For years the 
county did business without an official seal. One was not adopted until 
February 13, 1873, when the design in use to this day was accepted of County 
Clerk Harry Dixon, who brushed up his youthful classic recollections to 
build up the hog-Latin motto, "Rempublican Defendemus," — "We defend the 
public good" — as he rendered it. And there was no one to gainsay him. 

At clerical work, men were set who were more competent to manipulate 
a shovel or a flail than a goosequill. No record is kept in the supervisors' 
minutes as canvassers of election returns until 1862, and no declaration of 
results. Tabulated returns were then inserted and paid for at the rate of 
fifty dollars and more for a total county vote recapitulation less in number 
than in a single Fresno city precinct toda3^ Nowhere in the record is there 
anything concerning the organization of the county, save months and months 
later in casual references to the organization act in connection with boundary 
line resurveys. 

Office holders were landlords of the county, receiving rent for public 
office quarters. County employes were paid extra for services in the line of 
their work. Was any responsible person short of money and the treasurer a 
good fellow, a loan was negotiated, and the money came forth from the public 
treasury, evidenced by personal note of the borrower. Supervisors met quar- 
terly only, and the "per diam," as their minute clerk insisted upon writing 
it. was ten dollars, besides mileage. 

FIRST ERECTED MILLERTON CALABOOSE 

It is recorded as a commentary upon the looseness of the times that 
at the initial meeting of the first board of supervisors on June 23, 1856, after 
the county organization preliminaries consideration was given the subject 
of a jail. A county rate of fifty cents was levied as a tax for jail and court- 
house, and one of seventy cents on the $100 for state purposes. The jail 
contract was awarded to Henry Burroughs, the hotelman, for $6,000 on Sep- 
tember 15, and the structure accepted on February 25, 1857. The story is 
that the calaboose was so flimsy that on the day for its examination and 
acceptance the lone inmate exultingly offered to demonstrate how easily he 
could scratch his way out with a nail. Burroughs begged him to delay any 
demonstration and the prisoner obligingly complied. Upon the sworn testi- 
mony of Alexander Wallace, who was the unsuccessful bidder with Burroughs 
as_ one of his bond sureties, acceptance and contract payment followed. This 
jail proved a veritable white elephant, what with frequent repairs beginning 
as early as May, 1857, and November, 1858, the guarding of prisoners with 
Burroughs among others as a jailor, hisjh priced ""hotel meals and ten-doUar 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 97 

blankets for prisoners until in tlie course of time a ten-dollar a week meal 
rate was established in November, 1863, by the supervisors, and in May, 
1865, contract was made with McCray of the Oak Hotel on competitive bids to 
feed them for $1.33 a day payable in scrip and $1.66 a day for board and 
keep, however long or brief the individual incarceration. In the 50's as 
much as six dollars a day was charged by the sheriff, but the board reduced 
the per diem to four dollars. 

The dilapidated jail having been pulled down as a preliminary in one 
of the frequent spurts to build a courthouse and jail, arrangement was made 
with the sheriff of Mariposa, for a time, to feed and guard Fresno's pris- 
oners. At the last, so the story runs, the inmates of Burroughs' corral pro- 
vided themselves with a conveniently concealed exit hole for frequent ex- 
cursions into the open, always returning in time to incarceration and the cer- 
tainty of meals and a bed for the mere inconvenience of temporary restrictions 
in personal liberty. 

Eighteen per cent, remuneration was allowed for the collection of the four- 
dollar foreign miner's tax, but at the third meeting George S. Harden com- 
plained that because of the treasurer's change in the gold rate valuations and 
the consequent loss in blowing off sand from the dust his percentage as 
deputy sheriff in collecting was "too small to live on." The percentage was 
fixed at twenty-two per cent, and gold made receivable at fourteen dollars an 
ounce in value. 

Earlv trouble was had with Bradley, the first selected sheriff, and pend- 
ing action on a resolution of Clark Hoxie to depose him on August 7, 1857, 
he peacefully resigned. Harden succeeded him. Bradley had an insufficient 
bond. Supervisor J. R. Hughes, one of his sureties, having moved out of the 
county, and another, Alexander Ball, being a bankrupt. Bradley was lax in 
not making returns of his collections, failing to make seizures and sales for 
non payment of taxes, and in general conducting the collections in "a care- 
less, loose and incompetent manner." 

So loosely and slovenly drawn was the act creating and defining the 
county and the boundary lines that it was not until May, 1878, that the last 
complaint on this score was received from Tulare asking for a joint resur- 
vey. It was not the first time either that the line with Tulare, one of the 
contiguous counties, was in contention. Fresno could not perceive that any 
material benefit would result to either from the survey and curtly dismissed 
the proposition, as it did a similar one from Inyo in June. 1873. Resurveys 
were, however, had at intervals with every contiguous county under the orig- 
inal creative act, besides the attempted territory grabs, notably later by Kings 
in April, 1909, of a 120 square mile slice under the Webber bill, and the sensa- 
tional effort and defeat after long and bitter litigation and the indictment of 
three of the commissioners to divide the county for the enlargement of Kings 
with the annexation of the Coalinga oil field in 1907-08. 

As early as August, 1857, it was agreed between joint commissioners — 
Hewlett Clark, then a justice of the peace, and James Smith, ferryman at the 
Tulare Mansion at the Lower Kings crossing near Reedlev. for Fresno — 
that $2,609.55 was due— $744.16 to Mariposa, $1,362.42 to Tulare and $502.97 
to Merced for the land taken in forming the county. The various surveys 
were made necessary largely by th,e faulty legislative description of the 
southeast boundary of Merced. 

The first defeated land grab was in February, 1859, against the separation 
of the Upper and Lower Kings River territory to be attached to Tulare. 
Effectual protest was on the ground that the dismemberment was against 
every interest of Fresno, taking as it would two-thirds of the then small 
vote of 264 and a proportionate amount of taxable property, "which can illy 
be spared and which, if lost would greatly injure our county finances and 
perhaps lead to an abandonment of our county organization." for which 
"there is no good and sufficient reason and which is of no special value 



98 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

or necessity to the advantage and rapidly increasing prospects of Tulare 
County," and being "a movement so unnecessary in every respect." 

In February, 1860, Fresno also successfully combatted the effort of 
Merced to diminish its territory, "contrary to every interest," reducing its 
income by more than $1,000 a year and jeopardizing its chances to elect a 
legislative representative independent of Tulare, with no special advantage 
to Merced, "further than robbing us of a large amount of revenue." 

After the lapse of so many years, it would seem that all boundary line 
questions might be at rest, but in 1917-18 arose another as to the line be- 
tween Fresno and Merced, which following the crest of the Coast Range 
in part and never having been run on the ground left in doubt in which 
county in reality respective assessors were placing values on land for taxa- 
tion purposes. To run the extended line according to a joint agreed upon 
survey, Aladera's surveyor furnished the known and accepted starting point 
in the lower moult of cottonwood timber of the original legislative described 
northern boundary line of Fresno, surveying the line in ]\Iadera to tie in with 
Fresno as now bounded with the severing of Madera, then to be taken up 
by the joint survey. That survey was never completed because of the death 
of Surveyor McKay and on account of the war. 

So also on a survey of a few years ago between Fresno and Kings with 
the Kings River as the Une, the expected problem was to locate the channel 
center after all the years with the changes in the river bed but it was made 
easv witli the fortunate discovery of the tree benchmark making the location 
of tile channel center of the years before a simple matter of measurement. 
The new line was run on the zigzag section lines, where before the diagonal 
bisected properties, ran through houses and left part in one or the other 
county so that it was no fiction for a man in his house to sleep in bed- 
chamber in one county and stepping across the line sit down to a meal in 
kitchen in the other county. 

FERRIES AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION 

As a new county, the safety and convenience of the increasing settlers 
was early brought to the attention of the supervisors in frequent applications 
for and renewals of licenses to conduct ferries at favorable points on the 
travelled roads, doing away with fords which were not always safe. The 
earliest fords on the San Joaquin were at Cassady's Gravelly Ford and at 
oth.er points at and below Millerton. The first ferry was the one of Ira 
]\IcCray, the political nabob and popularly accepted "mayor" of Millerton, 
alongside his hotel and opposite the courthouse. The earliest licensed fer- 
ries were these: 

August, 1856 — McCray's at ^Millerton, on the San Joaquin. 

Stephen Gaster at ^lono City, on the San Joaquin. 

November, 1856 — C. P. Converse across San Joaquin below Millerton 
at Converse Flat, afterward known as Jones' store. 

]\Iay, 1857 — James Smith across the lower Kings at Smith & Crumbley's. 

John Poole, across the upper Kings at Campbell's Crossing. 

February, 1858 — ^^^ W. Hill at Poole's crossing of the Upper Kings near 
Scottsburg (Centerville). 

February, 1859 — L. A. Wliitmore, on Lower Kings at Kingston. 

Firebaugh's on the lower San Joaquin. 

These ferries paid monthly licenses of five dollars and three dollars 
and were under bonds of $3,000 reduced later to $2,500. They multi- 
plied fast, and for a time were evidently good investments. There was more 
or less trouble on their score because of the varying tolls and popular 
opposition because of th.e tax, so that in February, 1860, a regular schedule 
was adopted borrowed from Merced, after the road approaches had been 
declared public highway and the county mapped off into districts with 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 99 

roadmasters. Incidentally, "Mayor" McCray charged the county four dollars 
for ferrying a corpse across the river for burial, a tariff not taken cognizance 
of in the toll sheet. 

By August, 1869, general traffic had so increased in volume that a new 
rate list was established, made necessary also by the heavy Stockton freight- 
ing business with trail wagons, and the ferriage of cattle and sheep. One 
Millerton ferry boasted of having on one day in June, 1871, ferried across 
the river 24,000 sheep without the loss of an animal. The new rates, incor- 
porating those of 1860, were these: 

1 horse wagon or buggy $ -50 

2 horse wagon or buggy 1-00 

4 horse wagon, loaded 1.50 

4 horse wagon, empty 1-00 

6 horse wagon, loaded 2.00 

6 horse wagon, empty 1.50 

8 horse wagon, loaded 2.50 

8 horse wagon, empty - 1.75 

10 horse wagon, loaded 3.00 

10 horse wagon, empty 2.00 

12 horse wagon, loaded 3.50 

12 horse wagon, empty 2,25 

Horseman 50 

Footman - 25 

Pack or lead animal, each 25 

Loose cattle or horses, per head 10 

Hogs 03 

Sheep - 02 

In use by 1869-70 were the fords at Cassady's Bar, at McCray's (ferry 
having gone out with the flood), and at Fort Washington, the Walker, Fay- 
monville & Company ferry at Rancheria Flat, that at Jones' store (formerly 
Converse's), one at Sycamore railroad crossing (now Herndon). Gravelly 
Ford at where Skaggs' concrete bridge is now, Watson's ferry on the slough 
(now Whitesbridge), another at the Gus Herminghaus ranch and the one 
on the slough at Casa Blanca. On the Upper Kings were Poole's and 
Smith's, and on the Lower Kings, Whitmore's to which O. H. Bliss suc- 
ceeded, and Van Valer's five miles above. The Gaster ferry at Mono City 
was where the first electric generating power house is located now on the 
San Joaquin. Royal & Gaster had a big two and one-half story adobe trading 
store at this stage station. 

IN THE SIERRA TIMBER COUNTRY 

The toll road from the Henry Burroughs ranch to The Pineries — the 
Pine Ridge road with the beast-killing grade above the tollhouse — was com- 
pleted in August, 1867, and the tolls were : 

Wagon, span of horses, mules or oxen $1.50 

Each additional span 50 

Horse and buggy 100 

Horseman 50 

Pack or led animal 25 

Loose horses, mules or cattle 10 

Sheep or hogs 02 

This roadway, popularly known as the Tollhouse grade, was for years the 
burden beast killer as the highway for mountain travel and freighting. Opened 
to replace the ox trail and facilitate lumber shipping from Pine Ridge mills, it 
gave rise at the base of the grade to the settlement of Tollhouse, where Abe C. 
Yancey kept a roadhouse in 1868, and Henry Glass a blacksmith shop. The 



100 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

grade is the steepest on any public highway in the state save one, traversing 
hills in places on a long and steady grade of thirty-three percent. It has 
been the scene of several auto hill-climbing contests, the first in April. 1909, 
when A. J. Hudson established the record in a Dorris in twenty-four minutes 
and forty-eight seconds to Armstrong's seven and one-half miles above the 
Pine Ridge divide. 

Up this murderous grade the heaviest freight wagons for years hauled 
laboriously to supply the mountain saw mills, as well as tugging the heavy 
machinery for their operation. Donkey engines, carwheels and track rails 
and a small locomotive were freighted up the mountains for the plant con- 
struction notably of the Fresno Flume and Lumber Company for its lumber- 
ing enterprise in the region about the dammed artificial Shaver Lake, and 
later as far back in the timber forests as Dinkey Creek. So fearful is the 
grade that passengers by stage were cajoled, threatened or commanded to 
walk it to relieve the jaded animals in the ascent. 

Early historic paragraphers from Faymonville down have credited Alex- 
ander Ball with erecting the first sawmill in 1854 on Pine Ridge. The first 
man was James Hulse. He located below Corlew's Meadows, and according 
to the story staked the mill as a wager in a poker game at a ball and lost. 
Then it came into the possession of Ball, who lost it by fire, hastening on his 
bankruptcy in 1857, one of the very earliest if not the first in the county. 
The original toll grade was cut by two trappers and hunters, the Woods 
brothers, under a charter of 1866, starting from the upper end at a place which 
later became known as the Widow Waite's. Their grade was about 150 
feet higher than the later improved one, that first trail being yet discernible 
in places. 

J. W. Humphreys and Moses Mock established in 1866 a mill which 
became in 1870 the property of M. J. Donahoo. who also bought from Glass 
and others the toll road to the mills that had passed into their hands. Dona- 
hoo improved the grade, and in 1878 sold it to the county for $5,000, where- 
upon it became a free road, though still continuing a beast killer. Donahoo 
erected a planing mill in 1876 at Tollhouse, which became a busy mountain 
settlement, a halting station on the stage line, and before the flume a shipping 
point for the Pine Ridge lumber cut, already a county resource. The sites 
of these many early mills may be located today on the edges of the deep 
ravines that have Jjeen filled with the heaped up great accumulations of 
rotting saw-dust. 

The timber belt that in the course of years has been pretty well denuded 
was an extensive one, over twenty-five miles wide and sixty long, embracing 
over 1,500 square miles, estimated at 8,000 feet an acre to contain over 9,600,- 
000.000 feet of lumber, considered a low average, and placing the value at ten 
dollars per thousand the aggregate would be $96,000,000, considered not fiftv 
percent, of the real value. The Pine Ridge district was in its day a perfect web 
of sawmills and camps, with Ockenden as the center of the mills and timbering 
operations. It was the most important mountain settlement, contributing to 
the wants of thousands engaged in the industry, which was an important one 
of the county, coming next to mining and agriculture. It has been said that 
there have been as many as eighty-four mill sites, according to the tell-tale 
saw dust dump piles during the years when the lumbering operations were 
at their height. 

Equally as extensive lumber operations were prosecuted in the Kings 
River region, not even sparing Big Trees, with Sanger later as the flume 
receiving point and the mill headquarters of the Kings River Lumber Com- 
pany, and at a still later date of the eastern capitalized Hume-Bennett Lum- 
ber Company which revived activities in that quarter. It undertook a great 
piece of work in moving mill and plant at Millwood across a range to a 
more promising location on Ten Mile Creek which was dammed to form a 
lake by an original piece of concrete construction work, the conception of 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 101 

Civil Engineer J. S. Eastwood. There the mill and mountain settlement of 
Hume has been established on the never completed state and county fostered 
scenic road through General Grant National Park via the Sand Creek road 
from Reedley and Dunlap. The dam was completed late in November, 1908, 
at an approximate cost of $35,000, creating an eighty-seven-acre lake with a 
maximum depth of fifty feet and draining an area of twenty-five square miles. 
It is 677 feet long on the crest and fifty-one high at its highest point, ground 
for it having been broken on June 26, 1908, and 2,207 cubic yards of con- 
crete, besides eight miles of old steel cable entering into the construction. 



CHAPTER XVII 

Historical Courthouse a Worry for Ten Years. It is Aban- 
doned IN the End to the Owls and Bats After Seven Years 
Upon Removal of the County Seat. Financial Difficul- 
ties Long Stood in the Way of Its Realization. It Was a 
Model for Honest Construction, and the Boast and Pride 
of the People. Courtroom Becomes the Town Assembly 
Hall. Building Recalls Tragic Mystery in Fresno's 
Official Annals and the First Defalcation. 

"When in 1874, the county seat was removed to Fresno, the entire town 
of Millerton was abandoned, and the splendid courthouse which had cost 
the county many thousand dollars, was left there standing b}' itself, a refuge 
for owls and bats, and the drunken orgies of the 'noble redman,' a dumb, 
silent, and yet an eloquent witness of the folly and short-sightedness of those 
who formerly directed the aiifairs of the county." 

These are the parting words of Historian Faymonville in 1879. 

The decision to vote on the county seat removal was the death-knell of 
Ira McCray's future activities in Millerton, as witnesseth the following pub- 
lication on a certain February day in 1874: 

SHERIFF'S SALE — On Saturday, Sheriff Ashman sold the following property situate 
in the town of Millerton at public auction to satisfy an execution against it. Jesse Morrow 
was the purchaser and the property sold for the following figures : Oak hotel building 
and lot and liver>- stable $250, blacksmith shop $50, Joe Royal storehouse, $15, "Negro Jane" 
house and lot $13. The election ordered by the hoard of supervisors for the purpose of 
removing the county seat does not add to the value of property in Millerton. 

James McCardle became proprietor of the Oak Hotel. 

Can Sheriff Ashman have had hopes that the end of Millerton might be 
averted? If so, he was challenging manifest destiny. On March 11, 1874, 
appeared the following announcement of an actual improvement in the expir- 
ing village. 

IMPROVEMENTS— Just think of it— a new building is being erected in Millerton: 
a dwelling house, too, and just now of all times, when the county seat is about to be 
removed. But such is the fact, nevertheless. Those two indefatigable knights of the saw, 
hammer and chisel — they haven't got any plane for we inquired — Joseph Lamper Smith and 
Henr>' Roemer are hard at work on a dwelling for J. Scott Ashman. 

Until that historical courthouse and jail of 1867 was completed, to be 
abandoned with removal of the county seat after only seven years of occu- 
pancy, the housing of the officers and courts was a perennial subject of worry 
for the supervisors. They were scattered in as many as four difTerent build- 
ings at a time under one year leases, because from the time of the earliest 
discussion of the subject in June, 1859, the hope was ever entertained of a 
county-owned official home. But the finances never would permit. The tax 
rate with the early sparse population and scarcity of assessable property was 



102 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

not sufficient to perceptibly augment the created building-fund nest-egg. 
Besides l:>uilders were not inclined to bid for a contract with pay forthcoming 
in the scrip or bonds of a fledgling county, wdiich had not yet attained a settled 
basis but was in the throes of development. While the community had, with 
the years, been educated up to an acceptance of the public necessity of a 
courthouse, another educational campaign was necessary to endorse a legis- 
lative appeal for a bond issue. Even after all these preliminaries were suc- 
cessfully overcome, the resolution to build was carried in the board by only 
a bare majority and over the formal protest of S. S. Hyde, one of the three 
members. 

In those days under the '49 constitution, liberal a document as it was 
asserted to be, the legislature was entrusted with more regulative and super- 
visory powers over local government than it has today under the shot riddled 
constitution of 1879, which enlarged upon the home legislative body's govern- 
ing powers in local matters. All these things are to be borne in mind to 
account for the years of wearisome delay before the county could luxuriate 
in its own courthouse. It may be soberly questioned even, whether in 1856, 
the territory with its scant population, its lack of known resources, save 
in the placers, the life of which no one could foretell, and with its future a 
serious problem, was prepared to assume every responsibility of independ- 
ent county government. One local historian has epitomized the situation 
in the words that "Fresno had undertaken in county organization to satisfy 
a champagne appetite on a small beer income." 

In June, 1859, in response to a call to buy a suitable county building, 
McCray" offered his Oak Hotel building for $8,(XX), and Henry Burroughs his 
much older wooden hotel structure and also to repair again the jail — the 
one with the voodoo on it, that he was paid $6,000 for. The upshot was a 
decision to secure plans for a courthouse building, and there the matter 
rested until November, 1862, when the subject was revived and a set was 
accepted in April. 1863. Meanwhile, in February, a site was bought from 
L. G. Hughes and Stephen Gaster, in the store and stable ground of Hughes, 
for $600, occupied by Gaster and J. B. Royal, and William Rousseau's 
adjoining lot, for $150. 

No response forthcoming to the advertisement in the Mariposa Free 
Press from builders, another call for bids was inserted in June in the San 
Francisco Weekly Bulletin, and Weekly Sonora Union-Democrat and still 
no response, and with like experience a third call made in August, in the 
California Weekly Republican of Sacramento. One A^ear elapsed, and then 
it was resolved to fence in the site. 

In February, 1866, the Mariposa Free Press and Visalia Times were 
tried as advertising mediums and as a result Charles S. Peck of Mariposa 
offered plans, which later were accepted. In May proposals to build were 
invited and an issue of $20,000 bonds at ten percent, was authorized to 
meet the obligation. The bidding contractors were : 

Charles P. Converse, $17,008.25; Peck & Hillenhagen, $18,500; George 
Chittenden. $20,000. 

To Converse was awarded the contract under a $34,000 bond. His offer 
was raised $1,600 in August on account of authorized changes. Construction 
began in the winter of 1866 and ended in the summer of 1867, the brick was 
burned on the ground, and the granite and rock quarried near by. On settle- 
ment Converse claimed $7,599 additional, $2,000 by reason of depreciation 
of county bonds and interest paj'ments on loans by reason of non acceptance 
of presented warrants because of the treasurer's defalcation. This $2,000 
claim was disallowed, but in all he was allowed $5,728.25 above his contract 
price. 

It must in all fairness be admitted that the building was most sub- 
stantially constructed, the jail portion in the rear basement with its great 
granite slabs and heavy iron doors being second to none then in the state 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 103 

for fortresslike stability. Converse really took a pride in givino; the county 
a durable and solid structure, the two dufigeon walls being of granite blocks 
some weighing a ton or more. The building will serve, standing to this day, 
as a mute object lesson to present-day contractors of shoddy and ginger 
breaded public work. It made no pretense to architectural beauty. It was 
plain and simple and planned for use and not empty show. It could be made 
tenantable at no great expense in the refitting of the woodwork. 

It is remarkable that after the years of agitation for a courthouse and 
a total expenditure of more than $24,336 so little in the end should have 
been thought of the enterprise as to overlook a celebration to mark its 
completion, or even in the beginning in the laying of the cornerstone. Vandals 
have burrowed through and under the front brickwalls for the cornerstone 
box of coins and relics, but in vain, for none was ever deposited. The old 
courthouse was the boast and pride of the Millertonian. Long after the 
desertion of the village, it was carried as a tangible asset on the books of 
the county, though it had legally passed into the possession of Charles A. 
Hart, who became the owner of the land by reason of a government home- 
stead location. 

The makeshift outside courtrooms had been the place for general public 
assemblies and traveling shows, such as in those days at great intervals 
lost their way into this far away neck of the woods, principally sleight of 
hand performers. lecturers on phrenology and stranded negro minstrels 
working their hazardous route homeward and during whose stav the hotel 
landlords kept watchful eye on stage departure days. The tribunal chamber 
in the Converse courthouse also became the townhall, but under the restric- 
tions of August, 1867, forbidding traveling shows or exhibitions of leger- 
demain, and making exceptions as to musical concerts, vocal or instrumental, 
lectures on the arts and sciences and political and religious exercises. Balls 
and receptions were given and fraternal societies held forth there, the Odd 
Fellows' lodge on Monday and the Independent Order of Good Templars on 
Saturday evenings at the early hour of seven, besides the religious services 
at eleven in the morning on the fourth Sabbath of the month, conducted by 
Rev. J. H. Neal, who, on the other Sundays, preached in rotation at the 
Mississippi, Scottsburg and Dry Creek schools. 

The erection of the courthouse recalls the first tragic story and mystery 
connected with the official annals of the county in the defalcation and dis- 
appearance of Gaster, the treasurer, well to do and a highly respected citizen 
— in fact there were defalcations in the treasurership by successive elected 
incumbents. Sixteen days had elapsed on August 28, 1866. that Caster had, 
according to the formal official record, "without apparent cause absented 
himself and failed and neglected to discharge the duties of his office," where- 
fore it was resolved to open the office and force the safe. Investigation 
showed that $6,603.06 was missing, and County Judge E. C. Winchell de- 
clared the office vacant. Thomas J. Allen was later appointed to the vacancy, 
but failing to qualify. George Grierson was named. 

In the safe were found five packages containing county scrip, notes, and 
a buckskin sack with $1,800 and memoranda of ownership, besides fifteen 
loose twenty-dollar pieces in several compartments. A. M. Darwin estab- 
lished his ownership to this money and it was legally surrendered to him. 
The Gaster estate later offered to compromise the shortage for $2,000, but 
it was declined and little was recovered by suit. Caster's defalcation has 
never been satisfactorily accounted for. At the time he and Converse were 
close friends — in fact Gaster financed him in enterprises and possibly in the 
courthouse construction. 

Gaster's disappearance on August 11, 1866, left Mrs. Emma C. Gaster to 
face the world, handicapped with the care of four children. About two and 
one-half years later she married Converse, who in February, 1868, had 
been divorced. His end was also a tragic one. 



104 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XVIII 

No Civic Progress or Spirit ix Millerton. Never Was There 
Town Plat or Incorporation. Its Site Was on Unsurveyed 
Government Land. Its One Village Street a Double Ender 
CuL de Sac. Nearness to Rich Placers Controlled Choice 
OF Site. Traditional Estimate of Near by Gold Yield. 
Rural Conditions Were Almost Primitively Ideal. Stage 
Lines and Slow Mail Deliveries. War News Rushed on by 
Stage Coach After Purchase by Club in Visalia. 

Tlie eighteen years of village life history of ]\IiIlerton, with the added 
burden of misfit county-seat honors, are singular for the lack of civic prog- 
ress, remaining during that period practically at a standstill and positively 
retrograding. Was a structure dismantled for removal, which was not in- 
frequent, was one destroyed by fire, or washed away by flood, there was 
no replacement. It was never predestined to live as a town, and the fact 
was emphasized at the county seat removal election in March, 1874. 

The only noteworthy building spurt was at the founding in the first 
half of the 1850 decade. The only picture of the ragged village is from a 
photograph of 1870, by Frank Dusy, after the big flood. It shows a scattered 
collection of sixteen houses and local landmarks, including Chinatown at 
the upper end of the village street into which it debouched, the Indian 
rancheria on the bluf¥ across the river, with the courthouse and Oak hotel 
looming up as the principal stone structures, and with more vacant than 
occupied spaces on both sides of the roadway. 

There was an Indian rancheria above the fort and another below the 
village, hence the ferry landing name, "Rancheria Flat." 

The hotel was erected by Ira McCray in 1858, at a cost of $15,000, with 
brick burned and stone quarried right on the ground, and for the day it 
was a pretentious structure and a comfortable caravansary that the flood 
razed to one story. McCray never recovered from this misfortune, it was 
the turning point in his affairs. 

Never was there a town plat of IMillerton. There never could have been 
one. It never had town incorporation or officers. The county supervisors 
were the town governing body, if any assumed the prerogative, and before 
county organization it was practically without government, because of its 
remoteness from Mariposa's county seat. The village site was on no man's 
land, on unsurveyed government land in which no one could have owner- 
ship, yet buildings were erected, leases entered into, lots sold and bought, the 
courthouse site included, and no one had more tangible claim than a squat- 
ter's possessory holding from which he might be turned oflf at any time, 
but was not — another evidence of the "loose, devil-me-care" spirit of the 
times. When the fort was abandoned at the close of 1863, the late Judge 
Hart bought the government buildings for a song as a home residence, 
and after the land survey he located a homestead on the surrounding land, 
including the fort site. 

So it was with the village on the river bank. The homestead filed by 
George McClelland, whose house was central in the village, embraced the 
site as far as McCray's, the township line cutting across the town riverwards 
just beyond the opposite courthouse. This homestead right came to the 
late W. H. McKenzie by purchase, and so his estate (he was born at the 
fort as was his half brother, Truman G. Hart) is the owner of the fort, 
village and courthouse sites, besides the 12,000-acre cattle range on both 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 105 

sides of the river, excluding only the eighty-four-acre sulphur springs prop- 
erty below town and in the river bed in part, which the Collins brothers 
never would part with. 

Judge Hart owned the crowded quarter of the Chinese at the upper 
extremity of the village, occupied by them for years after the evacuation. 
He was their trusted legal adviser, and business agent, and regarded by 
them as a man second to none in power and influence. He was a man of 
ample physical girth, and this alone gave him distinction, so that on his 
later day business visits to Fresno his progress through Chinatown was 
always one long welcome ovation. This Chinatown of Millerton was typical 
as the most populous part of the village, in little one-story structures, prin- 
cipally of brick. It was as every other Chinatown distinguished for squalor, 
crowding of human beings into narrow confines, with all the characteristic bad 
smells and grime, and sublime indifference to sanitary measures that marks 
the oriental's quarters. The river water was used for drinking, and Hotel- 
man Henry, as one of the committee of citizens, presented protest to Hart 
against his tenants dumping stable manure and house sweepings into th^e 
stream to pollute the water. In 1860, the census showed a population of 4,605, 
of which 4,305 were whites, 300 Chinese including five women, besides 3,294 
Indians. 

There never was but the one bisecting roadway or street in the village, 
on either side of which the scant buildings of the day were irregularly located 
or faced. The roadway traveled today to the fort is not the one of Miller- 
ton. From Pollasky, winding along the riverbank to 'merge into the village 
street, it is a later creation, primarily for the convenience of the ranch. In 
the olden time, Millerton was entered by two stage lines from the back hills 
beyond the fort, or from across the river at the ferries and fords. The river- 
side road was not laid out until nearly twenty years after scattered settle- 
ment towards the plains had begun. Before the advent of the railroad, with 
the Central Pacific Railroad opened in May, 1869. Millerton was on one of 
the seven eastern wagon roads — the longest one, the Tejon route, through 
the interior valley. It was from Stockton by way of the village and the 
Kings River, south through the Tehachapi and Tejon passes to Los Angeles 
and San Bernardino and the military road to Salt Lake City, 1,100 miles. 
It was a stage station on the Stockton-Visalia route with Kingston on the 
river as the next halting place. From the Santa Clara Valley, ran another 
road, entering the valley at Pacheco pass from San Benito, traversing the 
West Side plains, following the Elkhorn grade used to this day, and striking 
the main Kings River road. The name was taken from the fact that over 
the door of the great barn of the stage company there was fastened the head 
and horns of a huge elk. Elk's head is no more, but the road is there yet 
to the Kittleman plains in the oil field. 

With all the cobbles and gravel in the river bed, the one village street, 
ending practically in cul de sacs at both ends, never was paved or macadam- 
ized. In dry seasons it was a dusty path ; in wet, a thick mud pudding. There 
was no alignment of the houses, more vacant spots in horse and cow corrals, 
littered up house yards and stable grounds than occupied ground, low one- 
story adobe, or up and down boarded wooden structures with a few notable 
exceptions, and cow and footpaths connecting with the main street as side- 
paths. That main street never had official name. It was variously referred 
to as Main, Center or Water, the rear of the houses on the river bank crowd- 
ing upon the latter, even hanging over the water, or being built up on stone 
l)ulkheads to bring them on a level with the street in front. 

What really possessed the early villagers to locate where they did, and 
why was so much built on the riverbank, when as much and more could 
have been located back of the courthouse, on higher and better drained ground, 
removed from all flood danger? In the flood of Christmas eve 1867, the 
water rose in the river thirty feet higher than ever before known, covering 



106 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

townsite to the very courthouse steps. From that flood visitation, the village 
never recovered. It was then in the stage of decadence ; the flood accelerated 
the finale. The question regarding the site location cannot be satisfactorily- 
explained. The fort was undoubtedly placed at the highest and most prac- 
tical military point on the river, one mile above the village. As to the latter, 
it was probably governed by the fords and ferries for the stages, and the 
accessibility to the river water for domestic purposes. 

There have never been authentic figures estimating the yield of the 
gold placers at, near and above Millerton. In 1856, the county had a revenue 
of $1,000 to $1,200 from the four-dollar foreign miner's tax representing 
from 250 to 300 delving miners. Their average individual daily earnings were 
ten dollars— collectively $2,500 or $3,000 a day, $75,000 or $90,000 a month, 
and continuing with fluctuations for soAe years. There is a well authen- 
ticated tradition given corroboration by Jesse D. Musick, as an accepted 
authority on early historical subjects, that by 1852 one million dollars in 
gold dust had been extracted from twenty acres of the parcel of eighty- 
four, three-eighths of a mile below the town, where the mineral water gushes 
out of a cleft granite boulder at the Collins' sulphur spring in the bed of 
the river, and in which parcel ]\Ir. ]\Iusick had an interest. This is said to 
have been one of the richest placers, and according to the quoted tradition 
the village site was located where it was because midway between that busy 
placer and the next richest across the range above the fort, in propinquity 
to the others on the riv.er, and all within convenient reach of military succor 
when needed. Is it to be wondered that there were "loose, devil-me-care" times 
with that much dust in circulation, and the tables at McCray's loaded down 
with gold in the games of chance that ran uninterruptedly the night through 
and until early cock-crow? 

John C. Hoxie, Fresno pioneer and miner, and a man with such a 
marvelous and accurate memory that he was often called upon as a court 
witness to give litigants the benefit of his recollection of early day events 
and localities, bore personal witness to the richness of the placers of the 
Southern Mines. He recalled publication years ago of a series of articles in a 
San Francisco mining journal by B. D. James, popularly called "Brigham," 
giving estimates from reliable sources such as express companies and the 
like of the yields of the mining districts. For the period approximately from 
1850-55 the estimate for the Southern Mines was given as thirteen millions 
and several hundred thousands. 

But whether considered as a roaring mining camp, or a county seat, 
twice visited by river floods and slowly dying from dry rot after the passing 
away of the mining period, Millerton never was more than a straggling 
mountain village, and from the very force of circumstances and conditions 
surrounding it could never have been more than that. There was an idealistic 
ruralness as witness the following published news brevity anent the court- 
house : 

ABOUT A BIRD— In the courthouse at this place, a little bird has builded its 
nest in the chandelier in the courtroom, and frequently when the court is in session, or 
when a religious meeting is being held there, the little fellow will flit backwards and for- 
wards from its nest to the open air, passing out of the window, or sit in the nest and 
chirp and twitter right prettily. We think our judicial officers should be well pleased with 
their little feathered compeer. 

As late as the 70's, the supervisors allowed a claim for four dollars for 
a pole with which to demolish the nests that the swallows built under the 
courthouse eaves. The San Joaquin was a stream of pure icy water, and 
clear as a crystal where not muddied by mining. Salmon ascended to the 
spawning grounds by the myriads, and, when the run was on, the fish were 
hunted with spear, pitchfork, shovel, even with shotgun and revolver. Sal- 
mon appeared in such shoals that as late as July, 1870, it was recorded that 
restful sleep was disturbed because "myriads of them can be heard nightly 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 107 

splashing over the sand bars in the river opposite town as they make their 
way up." Hogs roamed at large unhindered as the self constituted village 
scavengers. 

Fresno was a paradise for the Ninirod. They tell of great herds of an- 
telope scouring over the desert plains where Fresno City is located. Today 
an antelope is as rare as the ichthyornis. Along in December, 1870, mention 
was made on the authority of a Crane Valley man that an Indian named 
Tom, shot, killed and dressed twenty-one deer in three days within a circle 
of one mile from a given spot. Even this was regarded as extraordinary 
enough to warrant publication at a time when the plains, mountains, foot- 
hills and rivers teemed with game and fish. 

\A'ith such delightfully primitive conditions, the flutter may be faintly 
appreciated, when a't the close of March, 1871, announcement was made of 
a change in April in the stage schedule, for all of which Contractor Bennett 
was publicly thanked for his "enterprising and accommodating spirit." North- 
bound stages were to connect with Fisher's stages at Snelling (county seat 
of Merced and a \illage that went through the same lingering dying experi- 
ence as Millcrtiuii, instead of Hornitas'in Mariposa. The Snelling stages 
arrived at ^lillertun at the ungodly hour of five a. m., and passengers were 
piloted to hotels Ijy the pale glimmer of whale oil lanterns. They departed at 
eight in the evening, arriving at Snelling at eleven on the following morning. 
The A'isalia stage'left immediately on arrival of the northern stage, and 
returning also made close connections. By this new arrangement MUler- 
tonians could go through to San Francisco in twenty-four hours, a gain of 
nearly one-half in time, and no unnecessary laying over en route. And this 
was hailed as rapid transit ! 

All of which recalls the "unbearable outrage" of July, 1870, wdien INIiller- 
ton. Big Dry Creek and Kings Riven were relegated from a four to a single 
weeklv mail by reason of the abandonment of the mail route. Otto Froelich 
was then Millerton's postmaster. The Expositor, wdiich had never a good 
word for the national Republican administration said "There is nothing too 
corrupt or contemptible for the Radical officers to do." In August, Sillman's 
opposition stage to Stockton began running, leaving Millerton every Thurs- 
day morning with through fare of eight dollars. About the middle of Decem- 
ber, Contractor P. Bennett bought off Sillman & Co., wdio had the mail con- 
tract and he served again the tri-weekly mail. 

Talking about stages, here is another piece of evidence to accentuate 
the isolation of the village. In July of this year broke out the Franco-German 
war. The Expositor gave on July 20, 1870, the news of the outbreak based on 
a dispatch from Visalia brought by Russell Fleming the Saturday before to 
the effect that France had determined upon a declaration against Prussia. 
And as for war news thereafter, it was so scarce that a club was formed at 
Millerton to buy war dispatches at Visalia to be brought by Fleming as "the 
genial Jehu" of Bennett's stages. Fleming is a familiar Fresno character, re- 
puted to have been the first appointed postmaster of Fresno City, of which 
he is one of the earliest settlers. He was the first livery man in the town and 
his stables and corral at H and Mariposa were long a landmark. 

The gathering of news for a weekly issue for ^Millerton, with a popula- 
tion of 200 to 300 at the most, was no easy task, when so much was sup- 
pressed, and so much space wasted in fulminations against the "radicals." 
The "unbearable outrage" in the reduced mail delivery made the task the 
more difficult, with "not a single exchange under ten days old," and "no 
communication with anv portion of the county either." But all things come 
to those who wait. Things hummed again in the first week in September, 
according to the Millerton pace. An editorial squib read: 

"MILLERTON has been quite lively thus far this week. The county 
court has been and is still in session and a very large number of jurors and 



108 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

witnesses are in attendance. \\'hiskey has flowed pretty freely and some con- 
siderable skirmishing has taken place." 

There may have been no connection whatever between the two, but in 
the next column was this pithy, two-line penitential announcement: 

"EXCUSE the lack of editorial matter in this issue as we have been 
sick." 



CHAPTER XIX 

Characteristics of the Early Settlers. Political Opinions 
During and After the War Often Led to Bitter Per.sonal 
Animosities. Firing on Fort Sumter Stirred up Strong 
Union Sentiment in California. Fresno Settlers Hospit- 
able and Wholesouled as a Class. Gambling and Drinking 
a State Wide Habit. Chronic Intemperance Not a General 
Vice. Leveling Tendencies of the Pioneer Days in Democ- 
racy OF Labor. A Tribute to Womanhood. 

"The earlier settlers of the county cared little for politics. They were a 
plain, hard-headed, sensible people, who worked the placers, tilled the soil, 
raised cattle, herded sheep, made money, reared large families, feared God, 
respected the laws and were happy. The interest they took in politics was 
largely of a personal character, to secure the maintenance of order, the 
enforcement of the laws and the making of needful internal improvements. 
It may be that this indifiference to politics was due largely to the fact that 
the county has always had a safe Democratic majority. The early settlers 
very generally came from the southern states, and at the breaking out of 
the war their sympathies were with the Confederacy and they voted that 
way." 

These observations, in so far as they relate to the earlier settlers, and 
written in April, 1891, may be accepted as fairly accurate, though the state- 
ment that they "cared little for politics" must be taken with a grain of salt, 
because with the war influx the political interest was bitter, even vindictive. 
There was also personal animosity displayed during the period of the war 
and after. So much so that a time was when a Republican was a lusus 
naturae as much as ever a five-legged lamb, or a double-headed rooster was, 
and also when it was not always politic or safe to announce one's affiliations, 
if .they were not friendly to the southern cause. That cause had in this 
county and in Tulare and Kern many unreconstructed adherents, whose 
opinions had not been changed with the result of the war, but had become the 
more fixed, and probably not without cause, by reason of the indignities 
heaped upon the vanquished by the carpet-bagging administrations foisted 
upon the Southern people. The passions and prejudices of men ran high 
in those days, and the resultant conditions are not to be wondered at. 

Leland Stanford, elected governor in September, 1861, was the first 
Republican chosen to that office in California. For more than a decade after 
admission into the union, the state was controlled by the pro-slavery wing 
of the Democratic party. The news of the firing upon Fort Sumter came 
to San Francisco on April 24, twelve days after the fact, and was sent across 
the continent by pony express. It stirred up a strong Union sentiment in 
the state, and the lines were sharply drawn as between northern and south- 
ern men. In parts of the state. Confederate sympathizers were largely in 
the majority, notably in Los Angeles and in various localities in the San 
Joaquin \''alley. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 109 

Still there never was a more hospitable, a more wholesouled and a more 
mutually helpful people than those early settlers of Fresno. This is conceded. 
A stranger, destitute, or sick, or unfortunate, found himself among sympathiz- 
ing and helping people, who ministered to his wants, not with the hope of 
reward, but out the goodness of heart prompted by the spirit of the broth- 
erhood of man. In Millerton was an aged black woman, known the county 
over as "Negro Jane," who had come as a slave with Henry Burroughs. 
She was a character, earning a livelihood as a washerwoman, nurse, or 
whatever came her way. She was the Good Samaritan of the village, and 
was there a miner in a camp sick, destitute or neglected she was the first 
to be at his side. "Negro Jane" has long passed away, but there are still 
some among the living to recall the voluntary acts of charity of this black- 
skinned sister of mercy. 

Hugh A. Carroll was another of the original -Fort Miller garrison 
and with him came as a camp follower the wife, Elizabeth, mother of the 
first white girl child born in the county territory. She was of decided mas- 
culine character and temperament, as the result of army life associations. 
She could swear and anathematize on occasions, like a trooper or a pirate, 
but she had a heart for the sick and afflicted and her memory is recalled 
for many voluntary visits of mercy to sick and neglected miners. There is 
the story that with the location of the garrison she and Mrs. Ann McKenzie 
were the first of their sex in this region, and such a curiosity for the squaws 
that meandering from the fort in company on an occasion and approaching 
one of the rancherias they were seized and the squaws rubbed and pinched 
their faces to satisfy themselves that their skins were white and not painted, 
believing in their ignorance at sight to them of these first whites, that none 
of their sex could be of color other than tlieir own. The two women were 
alarmed at the demonstration. Mrs. McKenzie escaped early in the demon- 
stration but Mrs. Carroll was stripped naked before the dusky sisters satis- 
fied themselves that not only was she white in face but in body also. 

Dr. Leach was of a philanthropic bent of mind, and Dr. Chester Rowell, 
who came to Fresno from San Francisco early in 1875, was of the same 
stamp. The world will never know the many acts of quiet charity of these 
two men. No man or woman, destitute and in need of medical treatment 
or medicinal remedy, ever appealed to either in vain. The names of Mrs. 
Carroll, "Negro Jane" and Drs. Leach and Rowell are called up in grateful 
remembrance by old timers of Millerton and Fresno. 

GambHng and the prodigious drinking of alcoholic beverages among the 
Millertonians were no more characteristic of them than of Californians 
generally in the mining regions. Chapters on this subject are devoted in 
every history of Early California, and the causes lengthily and plausibly 
gone into. It is admitted that the prospect of gain before the advent of laws 
or rules or customs of binding authority and the lack of restraints attracted 
many vicious and dissolute after the discovery of gold. 

The presence and assertiveness of this class, combined with the absence 
of the repressive influence of decent women and the lack of refined or rational 
amusements to ease the daily toil, hardships and coarse living, encouraged 
dissipation and vice. "Gambling and drunkenness became not uncommon," 
says Hittell, and he is borne out by others, "and ruined many who under 
ordinary circumstances might have escaped the contamination." 

This writer, speaking from personal observation adds: "In no part of 
the world perhaps was there so much gambling and so much drinking as in 
California, Not everybody gambled, not everybody dissipated, but so 
many did, and the gambling and drinking houses were such public and well 
patronized places of resort that it almost seemed that everybody was given 
over to these twin vices. Throughout the entire country, wherever men 
congregated and even where they sojourned with any regularity, and in any 
number on their way to other localities, there were sure to be places for drink- 



110 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

ing and gambling, and among the supplies carried into the mining camps 
liquors and cards and their usual concomitants found a very large and expen- 
sive proportion." 

When drinking and gambling were so generally the vogue, was it to 
be expected that Millerton would be the one notable exception? Does it not 
smack of satire almost, to read in one of the earliest recorded deeds in 
Fresno County, under date of August 18, 1856, that Levi'Steinhoff sold lor 
$350 to Frank Rowe his "right, title and interest to the house or building 
known as the Temperance Hall," with the 85x100 lot in the town of Miller- 
ton? "A Temperance Hall" in the town of Millerton in 1856, when whiskey, 
brandy and gin were sold not by the drink but by the quart bottle and the 
gallon ! 

But in extenuation, let it be recalled that these conditions obtained in 
the days when "every possible luxury connected with drinking procurable 
in California could be found in the mines, and there was hardly any drink in 
the world too rare or too expensive for importation into that paradise of in- 
dulgence. It is doubtful whether there ever was before so ready a market 
for the costliest brandies and most exquisite champagnes, and no business 
afiforded such profits as the liquor business," while "hardly a team left Sac- 
ramento or Stockton, or train threaded the mountain trails, that did not 
carrv more or less spirituous or malt drink, and hardly a man lived or worked 
in the mines that did not contribute to some extent to the fortunes of those 
who managed its importation and distribution." 

It is stated that as a consequence of the indiscriminate drinking in those 
early days delirium tremens became a common ailment, and pathetically 
huniorou's in overlooking the superinducing cause of it, is the record of the 
belief that there .was supposed to be something in the very climate of Cali- 
fornia peculiarly favorable to "the jim-jams" as they were called. Still it 
is also of record that while there was a great deal of drinking, there was 
very little habitual drunkenness among the earliest pioneers. There was a 
plausible reason for it. The confirmed toper was physically unfit for the 
hardships and exposure of the across-the-plains, or the around-Cape-Horn 
journev to California, and the Avrecks of subsequent days had not yet become 
the habitual topers. 

To quote history: "But even including those who were so much addicted 
to gambling and drinking as to deserve the name of gamblers or drunkards 
— and as soon as they were such they were no longer counted among the 
heroes of the early years — it may still be reiterated that the pioneers were 
the most active, industrious and enterprising body of men in proportion to 
their numbers that was ever thrown together to form a new community. 
Four-fifths of them were young men, between eighteen and thirty-five years 
of age, and they came from all sections of the country and many from for- 
eign countries. They all came to labor and found at the mines that to keep 
on an equality with their neighbors they had to labor." 

A noteworthy feature of the times and the conditions was "the extra- 
ordinarv leveling tendency" of the life, a tendency upon the efl'ects of which, 
it has been asserted, have been based to a great extent the readjustnients 
and developments on new lines that have constituted the peculiarities of 
California civilization. As printed history has it : "Every man finding every 
other man compelled to labor found himself the equal of every other man, 
and as the labor required was phvsical, instead of mental, the usual superi- 
ority of head workers over hand workers disappeared. This condition of 
things lasted several years." 

The more common and general efifect was to level pride, and everything 
suggestive of the aristocracy of employment. The California pioneer has 
had" to stand sponsor for much. It is only truth and justice to record that 
the pioneers that founded the state constituted a race of men, whose superior 
is not readilv found. And in this tribute should not be overlooked the priva- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 111 

tions, toil, hardships and dangers borne and the civilizing influences wielded 
bv the brave and undaunted pioneer women and mothers, honoring in this 
category also the delicate and refined women of the South, who cast their 
lot amidst rough and primitive conditions to battle anew with life after the 
distressing days following the war, when the future was so blank and deso- 
late in contrast with the comforts and affluence that had gone_ before in 
the sunny and beloved Southland. Never had men such self-sacrificing and 
brave helpmates as in these honored early and later pioneer women of 
California. 

By 1865, there was an appreciable increase in the population of the 
county as demonstrated by the greater bulkiness of the assessment roll. 



CHAPTER XX 

Changes in Millerton Retrogressive Rather Than Progressive. 
First County Seat Removal Suggestion in 1869. The Ex- 
positor AS A False Prophet in 1870. Premonitions of the 
Period Change About to be Ushered in. Surroundings of 
the Village. Residential Exclusiveness About the Fort. 
Big Fire Visitation Was on the Eve of the Fourth of July 
IN the Year 1870. Unaided by Fort, Millerton Never 
Housed Its Fixed Population. 

After the county seat removal, Millerton was still spotted on maps for 
some years. As a village it lingered along, dying from dry-rot, slowly but 
positively. Habitations were literally carried ofif on wheels. Chinatown held 
out longest. Future it had absolutely none. Its history was a closed chapter. 
"Finis" had been written. It could only recall the past with its memories 
of the gold mining days, the days when it was a halting place on the stage 
line routing and when it was overburdened with the weight of county seat 
honors. But for them it would have been of¥ the map long before. 

It is recalled that as late as the year 1879 the handful of children left 
in the school at Millerton had formed the habit at recess of digging for gold 
under the blufif bank near the school. They washed the "dirt" in the river 
hard by and were rewarded by fifty to sixty cents during the noon hour. 
On a certain Wednesday they dug too far under the bank and the latter 
caved in on them, overwhelming Charlie and Willie, sons of Sam Brown, 
Jeffie Donahoo and two of Labe Mathews' children. A passing Chinaman 
removed the soil from Jeffie's face so that he might breathe as he was covered 
all but the head, while a little girl ran to the schoolhouse to give the alarm. 
It took seventy minutes to rescue the children but one of them, Johnny 
Mathews, aged fourteen, was dead. He was buried next day at the fort 
cemetery and the school took a vacation. 

Four years and two months before the vote on the county seat removal 
but after the flood and before the fire, it is recorded that in June, 1870 there 
were in Millerton: 

Four stores (three Chinese), express and postoffice, two stables, black- 
smith shop, barber shop, furniture and cabinet maker, printery, physician, 
hotel, three saloons, butcher shop, druggist, saddlery and harness shop, 
tailor shop, four lawyers, Millerton Ferry Company. "And quite a number 
of private residences." 

Between 1865 and 1870 the village business changes had been few. 
These few were retrogressive rather than progressive. Business activities 
during the period were these: 

6 



112 HISTORY OF FRESXO COUNTY 

Hotels — Oak, Ira McCray; Henry House, S. W. Henry. (Both had livery 
stables attached.) 

Butchers — Stephen Caster & Co., James Thornton. 

Blacksmiths — McCray & Shannon, S. W. Henry. 

Saloons — "Challenge," Folsom & Gaster; "Court House Exchange," T. 
J. Payne; Farmers' Exchange of S. Levey; and Allen's, T. J. Allen. 

Dry Goods and Groceries — George Grierson & Company, Otto Froelich. 

Notary Public — William Faymonville. 

News Depot — W. A. Grade & Brother. 

Newspapers — Times ('1865), Expositor (April, 1870). 

Saddle and Flarness— D. B. McCarthy. 

Photographer — Frank Dusv. 

Lawyers— E. C. Winchell.'C. G. Sayle Jr., C. A. Hart and S. B. Allison. 

Livery — M. J. Donahoo. 

Justice of the Peace — William T. Rumble. 

Ferries — McCray's, Converse's and Millerton Ferry Company (Walker, 
Faymonville & Company). 

Postmaster — Otto Froelich. 

The earliest published suggestion to move the county seat from the 
mining center was in 1869. The railroad was already heading southward 
through the valley from the junction at Lathrop. In July, 1870, there was 
the following first concrete, sporadic wail : 

"Everything is dead or on the rapid decline. No buildings of any value, 
no churches, no society, and no appearance of permanency about anything. 
Such should not be the case in a growing, prosperous county like Fresno, 
and such would not be the case were the town located almost anywhere else in 
the county. As it is, it is unhandy for all sections. It is off the line of 
travel and has no inducements for people to settle in it, even though there 
was room to build suitable houses to live in, which there is not." 

In April, 1871, the Expositor in self-contradictory editorial review, also 
assuming role of prophet, boasts, notwithstanding the "continued assertion" 
of many that Millerton "was a dead cock in the pit," that it "has made some 
considerable advancement." In proof it cited that two societies had been 
formed and a third was forming, that it has increased in population and 
business, that there was not an unoccupied house, and yet that it was a 
fact apparent to anyone that "Millerton will always exist as a town, even 
after the county seat is removed." As a prophet, the Expositor was a rank 
failure, except in the statement that the district school would become a 
graded one. 

True. Millerton was not yet the dead cock, but it was in the pit in 
dying struggles and last squawks. The fact is a great change was about 
to come over Fresno, a new period was about to be ushered in with irriga- 
tion to bring about the transformation. True, there had been increase in 
population and business, but that was in the county, and Millerton reaped 
the indirect benefit. True, in November. 1870, there was not a vacant house 
yet a demand for residences. But half the town had been washed down the 
river, the number of houses had been reduced, there never were too many, 
and no new ones were being erected to meet demand or replace the destroved 
ones — and all because of the uncertainty over county seat removal, which 
like Banquo's ghost "would not down." Any kind of a house rented from 
six dollars to twelve dollars a month, and there was not an empty one 
even up at the fort, old time barracks and hospital included. Land through- 
out the county was assessed at $1.25 an acre awaiting the time to be boosted 
up with irrigation 

In August, 1870, it was said that the mountain saw-mills could not 
turn out lumber fast enough for the demand. The price was cheaper than 
almost anywhere in the state at twelve dollars per thousand at mills, with 
the added twenty dollars for hauling it thirtv miles to the village. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 113 

But that lumber was not wanted for improvements at Millerton, but through- 
out the county in the spreading farm settlements, and especially in the 
more rapidly filling up Kings River bottoms, near water. There was never 
such a hegira as when they began to move away from Millerton. In 1871 
the business changes and dissolutions had already begun, and upon the 
result of the election, with the significant vote, the village sank to the 
obscurity of a hamlet, for everything movable was carted of¥, leaving only 
the ferry landing places, the house cellars and foundations, the courthouse 
and its conspicuous neighbor in Payne's adobe Court House Exchange Sa- 
loon, and Hart's Chinatown brick houses, as reminders that a village once 
stood on the river bank, and that it had once close relation with the govern- 
ment fort in the N. E. J4 of Section 3-11-21, four miles above the present 
Pollasky railroad terminus. 

Unaided by the fort. Millerton never did house all its population. A 
landmark stood for many years half a mile or more below the village in the 
Jenny Lind bridge, condemned on account of age a decade ago and carried 
"awav by winter freshets, the last standing concrete tubular iron encased 
supports snapping off when the waters also floated off the buildings at the 
Collins' sulphur springs. The Millertonites made pretension to residential 
exclusiveness. A favorite spot was Hill's Flat, named for S. H. Hill, who 
taught school in the village in 1862 and later at Centerville and Kingston, 
and" from 1864 to 1867 and again in 1870-71 was county superintendent, and 
whose brother, W. W. Hill, was treasurer from 1864 to 1874, dying in 
office. Hill's Flat was nearer the river than the fort; yet part of the semi- 
circular table land of the fortsite, and to the left on approaching it from 
the village. Here were located the Hill residence, also the Clark Hoxie 
home, known as the Garden house, besides a cluster of other pretentious 
homes of the day. Pretentious was the house that boasted two stories, an 
attic, and say a balcony entrance. Hill's Flat was edged by the creek that 
emerged from AVinchell's Gulch, a dry arroyo in summer but turbulent in 
winter as the drain way of the nearby low hills. 

Winchell's Gulch brings up tender memories as a favorite picnic ground 
and trysting place for lovers. The gulch is a horse-shoe shaped ravine, en- 
circling the base of a succession of low hills overlooking the river between 
fort and townsite, its eastern extremity fortwards a projecting rocky promon- 
tory that the river washed away to make the bank roadway to the fort. The 
gulch was approachable on the western edge of the hills by a road from 
the lower end of town, passing the ancient Odd Fellows' cemetery, dedicated 
in 1873 and now enclosed with a circular cattle-proof fence, the few grass- 
grown mounds of the dead unmarked, unknown, or long since forgotten, 
and anyhow out of the course of all present day travel. 

Near the mesa at the head of the gulch, one mile east of the village 
and three-fourths from the fort, was another cluster of homes, at Mountain 
Side so called, notably the E. C. Winchell residence and the select boarding 
school for young misses, conducted by Mrs. A^'inchell. The glen was a 
romantically delightful and restful spot. 

At the present day extreme western approach was J. R. Tones' store, 
also known as Jonesville, a trading post of some note, located on the site 
of the gum tree park and grove at Pollasky, and on the approach to the 
fine concrete span bridge into Madera county. The record of 1870 is that 
Millerton had the largest collection of houses at one place in the county, 
Centerville. or Kings River, the largest population and Kingston the wealth- 
iest, not any settlement in the county arising to the dignity of a town — large 
or small. It was in this year also that Walker. Faymonville & Company 
as the Millerton Ferry Company established themselves below town at 
Rancheria Flat. 

The big fire was on Sunday night July 3, 1870. Saddler D. B. McCarthy 
and three others had entered the shop to go to bed. In the place was a lot 



114 HISTOR\ OF FRESNO COUNTY 

of fireworks received the night before from Stockton for the celebration. 
Tradition has it that McCarthy had celebrated alcoholically, and a question 
arose about the pyrotechnics which he proceeded to settle. He lighted a 
Roman candle and walking towards the door, the candle sputterings 
alighted on the fireworks with the result that there was an unlooked for dis- 
play then and none on the following day. The building burst into flames 
which communicated with S. W. Henry's hotel, the Farmers' Exchange 
saloon of S. Levey also contributing to the fire. Then the flames veered, 
and Henry's livery stable and blacksmithy across the street were destroyed. 
The roof of the courthouse caught fire, but the flames were extinguished. 
]\Irs. Henry and children escaped in their night robes. Henry's loss was 
$8,000. Henry had been the financial backer of McCarthy, who was the 
unintentional cause of his ruin after a streak of bad luck. 

He had been flooded out, his blacksmithy burned down and thereafter 
blown down, and now he was burned out of everything. He published a 
card of thanks for the aid given him and his family, and the money donation 
of $323.50. Late in September the old wooden courthouse was overhauled 
and refitted as a hotel by Henry, who in the meantime had also opened a 
smithy near Darwin's ranch on Big Dry Creek. On October 12, the over- 
hauled hotel was opened and continued the hotel until the end of Millerton. 
A large livery stable of Henry's occupied the site of the burned hotel. 

The historic Oak hotel and McCray had seen their best days, and 
overcome by financial troubles he took to drink. He disappeared anon from 
Millerton, but returned, not like the Prodigal Son for whom the fatted calf 
was killed. The hotel building razed to one story after the flood rented out 
as a saloon in the basement, also as a butcher shop to James Thornton, who 
sold to J. B. McComb, who renovated the house as a hotel, but it never 
regained prestige. C. A. Hart and S. B. Allison had law offices in the build- 
ing, and McCray was disposing of everything before leave taking. The 
Oak in its palmiest days was the sporting house of the village ; Henry's 
the staid, family house. 

Part of the refitted hotel that was the one time courtroom stands today 
a weather beaten, moss covered and time corroded farm house ofif the Dry 
Creek road to Millerton, eleven miles away, having been removed after 
the village evacuation. Dorastus J. Johnson, who was deputy county clerk 
and died in November, 1862, rented it to the county for years for public 
purposes. It stood to the left of the stone courthouse and Paj'ne's adjoin- 
ing saloon, the two IMillerton buildings that were not removed or dis- 
mantled at the finale of the village. 

There is no picture of Millerton before the damaging winter flood of 
1861-62. In photography it was yet the day of the primitive daguerreotype. 
There is only one known pictorial of the townsite after the flood of 1867-68 
which proclaimed Millerton's doom. It is the frontis-piece to W. W. Elliott's 
History of Fresno County published in 1882. It is a zincograph illustra- 
tion of "Millerton as It Was in 1872," a reproduction of a photograph by 
Frank Dusy. Dusy had many photos of early scenes, but they have long 
since been destroyed. E. R. Higgins later had many photographs of early 
Fresno City. The negatives that were not destroyed in fires were cast in 
the refuse pile years ago. Some of the notable panoramic photos of early 
Fresno are today highly prized and interesting enlargements of his originals. 
The amateur photographer who has contributed so much to the advance- 
ment of the art was unknown in their days. 

Today nothing stands to mark the site of Millerton save the courthouse 
building of 1867 and the adobe walls of what was Payne's saloon, a little 
to the left and slightly in advance of the courthouse. Foundations of the 
Oak Hotel, with the cellar holes of one or two other structures and domiciles, 
remain of the mining hamlet and the county seat village on the stage route 
and the one-time center of placer activities on the San Joaquin. The site 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 115 

memories of Millerton are two — one before the first flood and the other 
after the second. Millerton never made advance. Its history is one certain 
and positive retrogradation. A good portion of the first townsite went 
down the river with the first flood. The second finished the job. 

Millerton, before the first flood, was strewn along the shelving southern 
bank of the river for about 300 yards. It extended from the rocky point 
half a mile below the fort on the river bend above the town to the low 
ground and the last house, about 400 yards above the medicinal springs, 
among the cobbles and boulders in the river channel, on a slight turn of 
the stream below the town. Rocky point and springs are location points to 
this day. The village was located to face the river. The latter ran a straight 
course before the town and was a deep channel. Floods and disturbances 
of the bed in mining operations changed, bared, shoaled and widened the 
channel. 

The river runs here almost due east and west. Townsite is on a down- 
hill grade. The river flows towards the plains. Originally at the town's 
edge on the river there was a beach of rocks and boulders. The first bench 
above the water level was as high in places as ten to fifteen feet. Three 
gulches headed for the river marked oft" the townsite at almost equal dis- 
tances from each other. Two winding roads divided the site in strips 
paralleling the river. The lower of these went out with the flood. The upper 
and second was the stage route through the town. Its route is today the 
road across the deserted site to the ranch headquarters at the fort site beyond 
the rocky point. This became the town's main street after the flood. 

Behind the houses that fronted on it was an irregular foot path to 
town from the highest part of the townsite level, at the upper end. Cross 
paths traversed townsite in every direction. Houses were located as whim 
or convenience directed. Regularity there was none. The earliest houses 
were shacks. At no period in the history of Millerton were there more than 
about four houses two stories in height. These were the wooden Burroughs 
Hotel, the stone and brick Oak Hotel, the wooden Henry House, the solid 
granite and brick courthouse and the wooden Ashman-Baley domicile. The 
courthouse and the Oak were the two notable structures. Little wonder 
that they were regarded in the light of architectural marvels in their day. 

You approached town from the lower end on an easy up grade. Fort 
was established before the town and first improvements were at the upper 
end on the town's side of the rocky dividing line. The washed out bench 
level between beach and first wagon road was in large part owned by T. C. 
Stallo, who in the sixty's went to Arizona and of whom all trace was lost. 
He is remembered as a companionable bachelor, who not infrequently enter- 
tained the young for whom he had a partiality. There are gray haired 
today who recall as children that he had a cousin relative who was a con- 
fectioner by trade and whose creations were the delight and admiration 
of the younger generation at these entertainment feasts. 

The main thoroughfares never had official designation. Records refer 
to them as River, Front and Main streets, dependent on whether before or 
after the one or other flood. Coming to town by the lower road there was 
before reaching the first gulch an open level on which at your left stood 
the Shannon (1) and BiirParker (2) houses and then to nearly the second 
gulch scattered habitations of miners. Then came another large vacant 
space to the third gulch near which stood a small shack (3) almost hanging 
over the river, appurtenant to the Oak Hotel and in which was located, in 
1865, the Times and the first print shop, shaded by a great oak tree. The 
lower road practically ended here. Gulch was an approach to the deep 
water ferry crossing here, the cables to the ferry pontoon being fastened to 
the tree. 

Entering town on your right at the lower end was vacant space until the 
first gulch was passed.' Then came a cluster row of Hugh A. Carroll's house 



116 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

(4) fronting on the road. Simon Henry's barn (5), his blacksmithy (6), 
John Linnebacker's house (7), the Morgan house (8), Denny & Darwin's 
establishment (9), a group of shacks (10), Millerton's first Chinese quarter, 
and William Fielding's saloon (11), close to the second gulch. Between it 
and the third was more open space and then the Oak Hotel (12) facing 
the lower road and the river, two stories in front and erected on ascending 
ground one story in rear which after the floods became the front with a 
side main entrance. Beyond the Oak, the stage road inclined toward the 
river, Init later was continued as the traveled route to the fort. Townsite 
ground was rough and undulating, rising as the rocky point was approached 
and sloping towards the river. First flood washed away all below the lower 
road and what was not carried away then was with the second, when the 
water came up as high as the steps of the courthouse on the highest ground. 

Beyond the Oak which was diagonally across from the courthouse 
location were the barn and stable corral (13) of the hotel, formerly Ira 
Stroud's, and halting place for the stage, and further beyond the open 
space on which the second Chinatown was located with its brick and adobe 
shacks and Judge Hart as the Poo-Bah. Here was a notable brick structure 
(14) first occupied as an office by Dr. Leach, later by Hart as a home 
before his purchase of the fort property, for years rented to the county for 
public offices, and lastly by Tong Sing, Chinese merchant, who also located 
in Fresno. 

Entering Millerton by the stage route you passed Rancheria Flat below 
town, so named because of the early location of an Indian rancheria there. 
Here a ferry was located later. It was the horse racing ground for the vil- 
lagers. The earliest arriving families camped there before locating domiciles. 
After evacuation the fort houses were sought for temporary as well as 
permanent domiciles. The first large structure on entering town was Grier- 
son & Froelich's store (IS), back of it the Froelich domicile (16) and along- 
side of store the office (17); then the Caster (18), Stroud (19) and John 
McClelland (20) domiciles. The Caster house was the first location, in 1870. 
of the Expositor print office. Beyond the first gulch were Henrv's barn 
and stables (21), along side the two story, double peaked roof Henrv Hotel 
(22) fronting on the stage road ; further along Burroughs Hotel (23) also 
rented for courtroom and county office purposes, and next to it Payne's 
adobe saloon building (24). In rear of these were Dr. Leach's barn (25), 
Mrs. Converse's domicile (26), and Leach's office (27). 

Standing back from the roadway line was the 1867 courthouse (28) 
and on the upper bench level and well back of it the county hospital (29). 
Alongside the courthouse was the Faymonville residence (30) and forward 
more on the line of the courthouse Fritz Friedman's saloon (31) ; bevond 
the gulch Allen's saloon (32) and "Nigger Jane's" house (33). On the 
higher hillside and well to the rear was the Ashman-Baley domicile (34). 
Alongside and back of it was the barn and stable where the E.xpositor long 
was located and to the right of the domicile was the site of the historical 
first county jail built by Burroughs in 1857 and from which on the dav of 
acceptance a lone prisoner oft'ered to demonstrate the ease with which he 
could scratch his way out with a ten-penny nail. 

The Dusy picture of 1872 shows sixteen points. It was evidentlv taken 
from the high north bank of the river at the Indian camp there with the 
sweep of the stream as foreground. It shows the Chinatown location (13) 
after the 1861-62 flood, back on the hill side the Baley domicile (34), the 
Oak Hotel (12) with the oak tree to the right; on the opposite side and on 
a line with the courthouse Allen's saloon (32), to the left and back of the 
courthouse the Faymonville house (30), the courthouse (28), Payne's sa- 
loon (24), the Henry Hotel (22), far in rear and in line the county hospital 
(29), at opposite ends of corrals the Leach office (27) and the Converse 
home (26) and three small structures between, next the JMcClelland house 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 117 

(20), the express office possibly the Stroud (19) house, another possibly 
the Caster (18) house, and the Froelich house (16). 

Make due allowance for ample barn and stable corrals and yards ; 
weed and wild flower grown vacant spots ; elbow room in plenty ; houses 
scattered here and there as if sprinkled from a pepper box ; weather and 
sun beaten and blistered if any ever were painted ; some little effort made 
at rustic palings and gardening of old fashioned flowers ; foot, cow and hog 
tracks in every direction : trees a scarcity and shade a luxury ; the one thor- 
oughfare a streak of dust in summer and a churned up trough of mud in 
winter; shack architecture predominant, the better class of domiciles up 
and down, boarded and battened structures and pretentious if provided with 
attic; the bare hills across the river for a monotonous vista; a burning sun 
beating down to make things sizzle by day and stew and sweat by night ; 
postal and all connection with the world through the agency of stage coach ; 
nearest populous centers pioneer Stockton and Visalia ; pioneering life at its 
hardest and roughest ; lacking almost all things that conduce to comfort 
in life ; conceive all these conditions and you can mentally picture what the 
life in Millerton was. 

Was the printer in the Expositor shop at his case setting type, the 
horses in the corral poked their noses in at the window to neigh a cheery 
how-do-ye-do. Did the printer plunge his hand into a box on the shelf for 
some material as likely as not he brought out a wriggling bull snake to 
restore him to sudden sobriety. 



CHAPTER XXI 

Early Flood and Drought Periods Recalled Briefly. Scotts- 
BURG on the Kings Washed Away in 1861-62 Winter 
Flooding. Millerton Unheeded the Timely Warning. It 
Never Rallied From the Christmas Eve Disaster of 1867, 
With Centerville a Second Time Sufferer. Twenty-nine 
Houses Destroyed in the Millerton Overflow of the San 
Joaquin. The Stream Was its Blessing but Also the Agent 
IN its Undoing. Some XTotable Enterprises to Amass For- 
tunes With Its Aid. A Gigantic Irrigation Project 
Failure. 

The winter of 1849-50 was one of excessive rains throughout the state, 
with storms commencing on November 2 and continuing almost without 
cessation for six weeks. The interior valleys were waterlogged and the 
city of Sacramento was under four feet of water. In January another storm 
flooded that city, but the threatened March and April inundations were pre- 
vented by river bank damming. Extensive and costly levees constructed 
after these experiences proved ineffectual for in 1852, 1853 and 1854 floods 
did much damage. The levees were strengthened and much damage was 
averted until 1861-62, when they succumbed to water pressure and a loss 
of over $3,000,000 resulted, perhaps the most disastrous visitation. 

The San Joaquin and Kings flooded in 1849-50, 1852-53, 1861-62, 1867-68 
and in 1875. The one of 1861-62 is known as "the great flood." Since then, 
there have been no comparable high water periods, nor such general losses 
suffered. In the years named, save the last, there had not been such material 
building up of the county that a winter's flood would result in a calamitous 
loss in property destruction. The winter of 1889-90 was one of excessive 
rainfall with streams overflowing, but the damage was mainly to farm 



118 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

lands in the inability to put in seasonal grain crops. For destruction of 
property, it may be said that the subsequent floods in the state are not 
comparable with those of the first decade and a half of its history for obvious 
reasons, one of these being the greater number of undertaken preventive 
measures. 

As there was flood loss during the earlier years of settlement, so there 
was also damage in the state from drought periods in that time, but with 
a steady decrease in the frequency of dry seasons, the losses from which 
have been minimized in large part by irrigation. The first noteworthy dry 
season was in 1851. There was then little agriculture, so the loss fell mainly 
upon the cattle men, who depended upon spontaneous herbage and lacking 
it were forced to the alternative of allowing the stock to die from starvation 
or kill the herds for hides and tallow. Five years later came another 
drought, which while not as severe, fell more heavily on the farmer because 
more land was under cultivation. 

The drought of 1864 was the most severe and disastrous that the state 
had experienced up to then. The grain crop was almost a failure, and owing 
to the absence of grass sheep and cattle perished by the thousands. Many 
were bankrupted. Seven years of plenty followed, with another drought in 
1870-71, grain crop scant, great loss in stock and yet not so general as in 
1864. Six years of prosperity, with the "boom" in Southern California ush- 
ered in, and in 1876-77 came a drought, second as a state-wide disaster to 
the memorable one of 1864. Cattle literally died in droves, so did sheep, 
millions were lost by the stock raisers, and the industry received a setback 
from which it never recovered in particular localities. This was California's 
last serious drought. There have been since seasons of scanty rainfall, but 
with spread of irrigation there is less to fear, and a dry season has little 
appreciable effect upon business, though seized upon by the speculative mid- 
dleman to corner products and boost the price to the consumer. 

Fresno's history has to do principally with the 1861-62 and 1867-68 
winter rush of waters in the Kings and San Joaquin. By the first, Scotts- 
burg, a stage station on the line to Hornitas in Mariposa, located on Moody's 
slough in the Kings River bottoms was washed away. The settlement was 
moved three-quarters of a mile south of where its successor (Centerville) is 
today, but being again flooded in 1867-68 was a second time moved to the 
present site, and still in the bottoms. The 1861-62 flood overran the low- 
lands bordering on both rivers. The warning to Millerton was unheeded. 
The village low ground was under water, stocks in cellars damaged and 
foundations of river bank buildings sapped or weakened by the ramming 
floating debris. Farmers and stockmen were the principal sufferers. William 
Caldwell had the Falcon Hotel on the Upper Kings on the best road be- 
tween Millerton and Visalia, with "a good and safe ford where the road 
crosses the Kings River." Ford may have been such, but the site was not, 
for the rush of water carried it away and left the Falcon a collapsed ruin. 

The 1867-68 flood is the memorable one, because from the loss suffered 
Millerton never rallied, nor were the twenty-nine destroyed buildings on 
any part of the half remaining village site ever replaced — only another proof 
of the instability of things. Centerville (Kings River) was again a suf- 
ferer, necessitating a second relocation on its present site, hotel, hall and 
other structures removed, the hall eventually to Fresno where it became 
Len Farrar's Metropolitan saloon on H Street, around the corner of Mari- 
posa. The flood water spread over an area two and one-half miles or more 
wide, and the river bottom was piled up with driftwood. It is a tradition 
that for five years and more thereafter no one living near the Kings River 
had need to buy firewood. There had been a warm rain for three weeks 
with consequent melting of the snow in the mountains. The soil was so 
loosened that acres bordering on the river and covered with timber slid into 
the stream, spreading the silt from Hazleton Canyon to Tulare Lake sink 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 119 

Near where the bridge east of Centerville spanned the river, J. W. 
Sweem had a gristmill operated by an undershot water wheel, with nearb> 
brick dwelling, orchard and garden. After the flood not a vestige of these 
was left. The river main channel directed by the millrace tore open a new 
one seventy-five to 100 feet further away, leaving the old a bed of exposed 
cobbles and gravel. The night of the flood and part of the next day until 
rescued, Sweem, wife and ten children roosted in trees with such scant 
clothing and coverings as they could gather in the excitement of the moment. 
Knolls showing above the surface of the sea of water were crowded with 
jack-rabbits that stirred not on the approach of man but had to be kicked 
out of the way. 

MILLERTON CHRISTMAS EVE FLOOD 

The following account of the overflow at Millerton is reproduced from 
the San Francisco Alta California and was presumably written by Otto 
Froelich: 

THE OVERFLOW AT MILLERTON 



Terrible Destruction of Property 



(From an Occasional Correspondent) 

Millerton, Fresno County, January 19, 1868. — I will endeavor to give 
you a few outlines of the general sufferings and losses which we in this 
county have sustained by the late doings, of which you have probably seen 
some notice in the newspapers. On the evening of the 24th of December 
(Christmas eve) in the middle of the darkest night known, the citizens of 
this place were awakened by a sudden thundering and roaring of the San 
Joaquin River, and in less than one hour after, the whole. place was over- 
flowed, with the exception of the ground upon which the court house stood 
and a few private residences. All the buildings and stores filled with mer- 
chandise gave way from their resting places. The frame houses took with- 
out pilots a passage down the river, stocked with provisions and furniture ; 
part of them were wrecked on the cliffs and rocks, and the others which 
escaped have taken the plains as their resting place, perhaps giving lodg- 
ment to the poor cattle grazing along in the vicinity. The brick and adobe 
houses with apparent fear, trembled as if aware of their perilous situation. 
The day following nothing was left of them but piles of brick and sand, 
mixed with timber, drift wood, iron doors, tin roofing, etc., as warning 
monuments not to locate any town on sand and gravel, especially in close 
proximity to a river. The loss at this place in buildings and personal prop- 
erty, at the lowest estimate, is $30,000. I am pleased to say my individual 
loss is but small. I began as soon as I apprehended danger, to remove my 
merchandise from the store into the court house and not more than ten 
minutes after I removed the last case of goods the storehouse was entirely 
destroyed. In the surrounding country also, on Upper and Lower Kings River, 
all the farmers and stock ranchers have suffered serious loss. All is now at 
a standstill : all the crossings on the rivers are gone and traveling stopped for 
the present. — F. 

The story is authenticated that great damage at Millerton was done 
by the battering-ramming of a great raft of uprooted trees that the surging 
wave of water brought down to clog the river channel. The townsite of 
today is practically the diminished one that the flood left. It carried away 
a considerable portion of the bluff on the north side of the river facing the 
village. This is recalled because there was an early burying ground there, 
and after the flood there was not a grave left. A large Indian rancheria was 
also located there. 



120 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

A tradition is that because of heavy rains a timber covered hillside 
had sHd into the river damming up the channel, some twenty miles up in the 
mountains above Millerton. until the accumulated back mountain drainage 
and the stream flow broke through the dam, liberating the stored up water 
to overwhelm the village. The onrush was swift carrying on the crest 
of the huge wave an immense raft of uprooted trees. The channel could 
not carry water and timber, and so the flood water spread to a height of 
thirty feet, covering townsite to the very steps of the courthouse on the 
highest ground, the oncoming backwater propelling the trees as battering 
rams. 

This great mass of tree logs was left stranded where the river lost 
its velocity by spreading over the low plains on the Chidester place, near 
where Kerman and the Skaggs concrete bridge are today, probably fifteen 
or twenty miles below ]\Iillerton. So great was the accumulation that 
Badger & Bellas, with whom one Jenkins was associated, erected a small 
saw mill there, and for a season and longer cut up the trees into lumber. 
Much of it was used by Majors S. A. Holmes, W. B. Dennett and others 
for fencing and buildings in the newly colonized Alabama Settlement at 
Borden (in Madera now). Even thereafter, the tops and trimmings served 
the cattle and sheepmen as fuel for years. These flood logs may have been 
treasure trove, but in the flood descent they gathered so much gravel and 
stones in the grind that they were ruinous of the saws in the mill. 

A BLESSING AND ALSO A CURSE 

And thus the San Joaquin, which helped to make Millerton with gift of 
its rich placers, also led to its undoing — was its blessing and also its curse. 
What stories that stream suggests of human hopes and disappointments! 
Its romance is interwoven with that of the men who made fortunes out 
of it, and of those who failed in the effort to wring more gold from its bed. 

To this day may be seen in the river, several hundred yards above 
the fort, the remains on the south bank of the Fort Miller Mining and \A'ater 
Company, ambitious enterprise of 1853 of Quartermaster Thomas Jordan, 
"shrewd, cunning and crafty," to dam the stream, divert the water into the 
ditch and glean the gold from the shallowed stream. The enterprise failed, 
and "no one came ahead except Jordan." 

Across the river from the old fort, the bluff is all but washed away. 
In a corner stands remnant base of a brick chimney, and along the brow 
of the bluff a six-mile ditch to Fine Gold Creek — another promising scheme 
of the Kentucky Gold Mine. Water was brought by ditch for ground sluic- 
ing away the bluff. It was sluiced away, but it is not recorded that the 
sluicers were rewarded. 

Above Pollasky on the river bank, lay corroding, for some twenty 
years, a huge, iron-riveted, boiler-like, bottle-shaped structure, all that is 
left to recall another enterprise to take gold out of the shifting bed of 
the river. The boiler was the invention of a local genius, Peter Donahoo. 
It was to be set upright in the water, sand and gravel pumped out to be 
worked over for the gold, boiler sinking deeper to bedrock as the pumping 
proceeded. Ingenious, but a failure, and good money was sunk. 

Then there was later the magnificent scheme of the Ohio Mining Com- 
pany. It swallowed up $2(X),0CX) of eastern money and was exploited by 
W. C. Barrett and Karl Brown. Where Fine Gold Creek, once a rich 
placer, joins the San Joaquin a whirlpool is formed. If the creek was once 
so rich, why should not be the deep hole at the confluence of the streams? 
Capital was interested on the showing of a diver, who had brought up 
from the bottom of the whirlpool a pan of gravel which showed up twelve 
dollars of gold. A dam was built above the whirlpool and the banks cut 
into to divert the creek water — a laborious and costly undertaking. The 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 121 

rush waters of two winter floods carried away ditch and dam. A third 
season and the hole was pumped dry. The first panful showed up about 
eighty cents worth of gold. Another fiasco was recorded. 

The Ohio tried another plan later with local capitalists interested to 
the tune of many thousands to sluice gold out of the river bank, four miles 
above Cassady's bar. A costly pumping plant was erected, and when all 
was ready to hydraulic away the bank discovery of a fatal error was made. 
The power plant had been so placed that the gravel washings worked in 
on the pumping apparatus and placed it out of commission. Disgusted with 
the outcome and doubtful of its ultimate successful operation, the Iowa 
marked another failure. 

These costly ventures cover a period of many years. Yet gold has been 
taken out of the river in paying quantities since the mining days, and suc- 
cess made with primitive means. A notable one in this line was about 1898 
when the late Charles A. Hart hired a crew of Chinese, who constructed 
their own devices and midway between Millerton and the fort placered gold 
in remunerative returns out of the river sand and gravel. Operations have 
been pursued as late as 1908 from floating dredges, but not with known 
success. 

The most gigantic failure connected with the San Joaquin — though not 
a mining venture — was that of the Sunset Irrigation Company, exploited in 
the early 80's. It voted $200,000 bonds for the largest irrigation scheme in 
the world under one management to reclaim by irrigation 400,000 acres of arid 
West Side lands by an immense ditch, miles and miles long, tapping the 
river a mile or so below Pollasky. The ruins of the granite dam are there, 
so is the great ditch scooped out of the sides of the hills, but the lands are 
as arid as ever they were. The water would not stay in the ditch. There were 
costly wash outs of dam and ditch, the surface soil of the latter so frequently 
volcanic ash which water would not solidify or hold. 

Engineering errors were made, discovered too late in the attempted prac- 
tical demonstration and not to be remedied save at great cost. The project 
was given fair test, but in the end was abandoned after an immense loss of 
money, time and labor. The ditch is grass grown and honeycombed with 
squirrel holes, and the river flows by as ever. 

Sporadic efl^orts have been made at various periods in the years gone by, 
more especially during and after the Civil War times, to wash the sands of 
the river for gold. Chinese were employed in this labor. Experiments were 
made in even much later years in the line of dredging for gold but never 
with compensating returns. Possibly the most ambitious efifort at a revival 
of river sand gold washing was the one in the summer of 1878 as recorded 
incidentally in a newspaper brief of forty years ago in the following words: 

"The San Joaquin River is falling rapidly and is now fordable at many 
points. About 300 Chinamen are scattered along both banks of the river for 
a distance of thirty miles, beginning about five miles below ]\Iillerton and 
extending up into the mountains, and are washing the sand along each bank 
in rockers just as fast as the waters recede. By careful inquiry among them 
they are found to gather from $1.50 to $2.50 a da}' each, and this will continue 
till the water rises next winter — and each succeeding rise deposits a new 
supply of gold." 

The wealth production of the river as a gold yielder has passed into a 
tradition. Its present day contribution to the wealth production of the valley 
and for years to come is in the use of its snow melted waters from the High 
Sierras for the irrigation of the cultivated areas of the plains which it traverses 
in its long course to the Pacific Ocean. In that wealth production aid. it is a 
greater yielder annually than all the gold ever washed out of its sand and 
gravel banks. 



122 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XXII 

Three Families Singularly Linked With Millerton's History. 
Notably so the McKenzies, Harts and Hoxies. They Were 
Among the Earliest Prominent Settlers. Personal Recol- 
lections OF Them and Other Located Families. Gillum 
Baley Elected County Judge, Though No Practicing 
Lawyer. Shannon a Prominent Citizen and Morrow a Pic- 
turesque Character. Personal Recollections of Others 
Who Filled Important Places in the Early Politics and 
Historic Periods of the County. 

As in ever)' small settlement, so at Millerton certain families were 
first and foremost in the history and activities of the community as people 
to be looked up to, as it were. Three in particular are linked with Miller- 
ton's history whether as pioneers, by marriage connections, by present day 
ownership of the land, or by subsequent prominence in person as well as 
through their descendants in the later history of Fresno, of which they are 
also pioneers. The three families are the McKenzies. Harts and Hoxies; 
but notable also besides them are the Balev. Shannon, Morrow. Musick, 
Winchell, Ashman, Boutwell, S. H. and W.' W. Hill, ]\IcClelland, Henry, 
R. H. Daly, McCardle, Bernhard, Borden, Blasingame, Braley, Birkhead, 
Collins, Cole, Darwin, Donahoo, Dixon. Dusy, Draper, the Fergusons, Fay- 
monville, Firebaugh, Goldstein, Gundelfinger, Hedgpeth, Hughes. Kutner, 
Nelson, Smoot, Statham, Sutherland, Tupper, Wickersham, White and the 
Yancey farailies to mention only at random a comparative few. There were 
other notable resident families in the county in the days before and after 
Millerton. To enumerate them would make a long list and tax the memory. 
As pioneers they all contributed to the slow development of the county in 
its various material and spiritual periods. And this is not to say that there 
were not others whose past may not be too closely inquired into for the 
disclosures that inquiry would reveal. 

James ]\IcKenzie, who died in January, 1864, aged only thirty-three, 
was of the pioneer Fort Miller garrison, and after termination of his mili- 
tary service in 1858, located above the fort as a stockraiser. He entered the 
army in 1852, and his regiment was ordered from New York that year to 
this coast to subjugate the Indians. The travel was by steamer to Aspin- 
wall, by mule across the isthmus, thence by steamer to San Francisco and 
the arsenal at Benicia Barracks and thence by land to Fort Miller. He was 
a sergeant in Lieut. Lucien Loeser's battery of the Third Artillery, serving 
also in Oregon in the Indian hostilities. A son, Edward P., who died in 
1888, may be recalled, if at all. only by early pioneers as the storekeeper 
at Hamptonville, the settlement charted on early maps at the ferry cross- 
ing, where now stands the enclosed park at Pollasky. 

William H. McKenzie 

The other son, \Mlliam H., born at the fort in March, 1857, left five 
children to perpetuate the name. Alfred H., an enterprising young business 
man being the active executor of his father's trust estate. He lived at the 
fort home until 1874, when he came to Fresno as a deputy of Sherifif Ash- 
man. Two years later, he was a deputy under Assessor J- A. Stroud, con- 
tinuing in various official deputyships until 1880, when he was elected county 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUxNTY 123 

assessor for three years under the new constitution. In 1882, he was asso- 
ciated with A. M. Clark in the land title abstract business, which they 
incorporated and expanded. They also secured an interest in the Fresno 
Loan and Savings Bank, incorporated in January, 1884, Mr. McKenzie 
being cashier and manager. The bank has long since been liquidated. 

With Fresno's city incorporation, Mr. McKenzie was appointed treas- 
urer, continuing for twelve years. He was interested with Clark and John 
C. Hoxie in mining operations, and at his death left a valuable estate, with 
notable chief assets the expanded abstract business, a large interest in the 
$300,000, Griffith-McKenzie ten-story sky-scraper, which is such a dis- 
tinctive object in Fresno's sky line, and the 12,000-acre cattle range which 
includes Millerton and fort sites. Neither of these would he part with for 
sentimental reasons. Various efiforts have been made, plausible but not 
always practical, by the Pioneers' Society and the Native Sons of the Golden 
West to gift the old courthouse with a site of two acres as a public park 
and a monument and with restoration and preservation make it a museum 
of pioneer antiquities. The widow was born at ^Millerton and was Carrie 
E. Hoxie before marriage. An only sister is IMrs. Mary J. Hoxie, widow of 
John C. Hoxie, pioneer and expert quartz miner of the county, and one time 
inexhaustible treasure mine of information on early Fresno history. 

Mrs. Ann McKenzie, the mother, who was eighty-five years of age 
at death in November, 1910, married Charles A. Hart at Millerton in 
March, 1865, and as the result of this union was born, at the fort, in April, 
1866, Truman G. Hart, prominent citizen of Fresno of the younger genera- 
tion of the old county seat, in his earlier days connected with the national 
guard ; also with the volunteer fire department and as its chief, elected in 
1894 county clerk, later a city trustee and identified prominently with the 
Republican party, and a pioneer in oil well development, besides general 
mining ventures. He is an administrator of the valuable trust estate of his 
half-brother, W. H. McKenzie. 

Mrs. McKenzie-Hart came to New York from Ireland, in 1848. to visit 
a sister : her first husband and she were natives of County Sligo. The wed- 
ding journey across the isthmus was made on mule back. The McKenzies 
and Harts lived at the fort until 1861, when they located on a nearby 3.000- 
acre ranch and range. Besides farming the home place, young McKenzie 
became extensively interested in mining. With S. N. Grifiith, the Fresno 
Electric Railway Company was capitalized and the system expanded to one 
of twelve miles when they sold out in May, 1903. He aided to develop the 
Kern River oil resources, sinking the first wells at Bakersfield and at McKitt- 
rick, was financially interested in the Four Oil Company and in two other 
locations adjoining the Kern River property, also in the famous Section 28 
in the Coalinga field, all of which yielded rich returns. He was moreover 
a leader in Democratic politics, county and city. 

Charles A. Hart 

The late Charles A. Hart was for years after county seat removal, 
the lone resident of the fort and of once prosperous Millerton, living in easy 
contentment his declining days at the old homestead, which was his love 
and pride and to abandon which in life seemed to him a sacrilege. He was 
a graduate of the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, N. Y., took up sur- 
veying and engineering as a special study, for a time surveyed and set 
grades on the New York and Erie Railroad in 1841. returned home to 
Palmyra, N. Y.. studied law for four years, practiced for one year and then 
entered the wool and hide commission business in New York. He joined 
a party of forty from Massachusetts that, in December, 1848, started for 
California via steamer to Brazos, Texas, overland through the Lone Star 
State and what is now Arizona, across the big desert, entered California by 



124 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the southern route, journeyed north through Los Angeles, then only a 
Mexican pueblo, to the San Joaquin Valley and arrived at Hill's Ferry in 
Merced County, August, 1849, after numerous skirmishes on the journey 
with Navajo and Apache Indians. 

For two seasons, he and party mined on the Merced, their efforts with 
old fashioned rockers yielding a pound of gold to the man daily. In 1853 
he settled at Millerton, and upon county organization was elected the first 
county judge. After his term, he returned to the law until 1874, when with 
removal of the seat he devoted himself to ranching, cattle and horse raising 
on 2,000 acres of land. He was the first fruit grower in the county at the 
fort, experimentally planting oranges and figs about 1878, and himself 
carrying the water in buckets for irrigation from a nearby spring. The 
fort being abandoned in 1863, he bought all the improvements at auction. 
By homesteading, purchase of the McClelland homestead covering the vil- 
lage site, and by inheritance and other acquisitions the McKenzies and 
Harts became the owners of the 12,000-acre cattle range on both sides of 
the river, and all thereon. 

Clark Hoxie 

Clark Hoxie, who died in 1866 at Sandwich, Mass., at the ancestral home, 
came to California via the isthmus in 1852 and locating at Tuttletown in 
Tuolumne County built the first quartz mill in that locality, besides engag- 
ing in mining. In 1856 he was at one of the Fresno reservations to teach 
the redman carpentering, but by 1858 was located at Millerton as a black- 
smith and wagonmaker, and participating in local administration affairs. 
He earned the title of judge as a justice of the peace, and tradition has it 
that court was held not infrequently on short notice in the shop, the judge 
astraddle of a wooden horse as a judicial bench and the litigants and others 
similarly accommodated. Clark Hoxie was a supervisor in 1857, chairman 
of the board during the term, and a true type of the sturdy and honest 
pioneer. His descendants are : 

John C. Hoxie, who married a McKenzie, and aforementioned. 

Sewell H. Hoxie, who resided in later years at Pasadena, Cal. 

George L. Hoxie, for successive years county surveyor, afterward city 
engineer of Fresno, planned its enlarged sewer system with septic tank 
plant at the city sewer farm, and at present lumbering in Trinity County. 

Mrs. Elizabeth J. Hoxie-Barth, who at Fort Miller in 1865 married Capt. 
Charles Earth of the quartermaster's department of the United States Army 
and later moved to San Francisco. 

And her sister Mrs. Carrie E. Hoxie-McKenzie, the younger daughter, 
who married W. H. McKenzie and was born in the old wooden hotel and 
courthouse building that was moved in part, miles below ]\Iillerton on the 
banks of Little Dry Creek. 

John C. Hoxie prided himself that all his education was received from 
his mother, who in 1859 was postmistress at Millerton, also organized the 
undenominational first Sabbath school and among the early white women 
in the district was looked up to intellectually as a superior personage. 

Gillum Baley 

High in public esteem and regard in IMillerton as well as in Fresno, 
the career of the late Gillum Baley, an lUinoisian, born in 1813, was typical 
of the adventurous early comer. At the age of nineteen, he participated 
until its close in the Black Hawk War, and in 1835 married in Missouri, 
the wife who died during the second year of the union, leaving a son Moses, 
who died in 1885 in California. Following farming in Missouri, Gillum mar- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 125 

ried in 1837 Miss P. E. jNIyers of Jackson County, the companion of his 
later days, and the mother of eleven children. It was in 1849 that he came 
overland, for two years followed mining and rejoined his family in Missouri. 
The call to California was, however, too insistent, so in April, 1858, via 
the southern route the second overland journey was undertaken with wife, 
nine children and a brother, W. R., the five ox team wagons with 100 head 
of cows and stock cattle joining^ the L. J- Rose partv in the Colorado River 
Valley. 

The sufferings of the party were great because of the heat and super- 
induced thirst. Besides, the party of sixty was fiercely attacked and as 
determinedly repulsed an assault on the camp by 800 Mojave Indians, with 
loss to the party of nine dead and seventeen wounded and of savages eighty- 
seven killed, wounded unknown. Having escaped massacre, the route was 
changed by retreat to Albuquerque, N. M., the men trudging along barefooted 
with feet lacerated by the cactus thorns and sleeping at night on the sand 
under the wagons. The Baley party recuperated for seven months at Albu- 
querque, and finally set out for California, resting at Visalia, locating on the 
Chowchilla in mining, then moving to the Tollhouse, where he farmed and 
raised stock, eventually settling at Millerton. It was in February, 1861, 
that he entered upon public life as appointed justice of the peace to suc- 
ceed John Letford in the second township. 

A notable incident in his long and honorable career was his election 
in October, 1867. as county judge. 

A remarkable story has always attached to this worthy man that he 
was elected judge though having no knowledge of the law and untrained as 
a lawyer. The truth is that, he had read law in Missouri and had been jus- 
tice-court bench-rider. Experience as a practitioner he had none, nor was 
he familiar with the technical forms of procedure. He was admitted to 
practice at Sacramento. Cal., after an examination as to his qualifications 
by a committee of three lawyers appointed by the supreme court on his 
application for admission to the bar as was the practice of the day and the 
times. 

Yet with an interim, he occupied a seat on the county bench for twelve 
years, and his decisions met with general approval. The historical fact is 
that few, if any, of his judgments were reversed on appeal. The lack of tech- 
nical knowledge was replaced in the man by an intuitive insight into human 
nature, judged by experience and common sense. Retiring from the bench, 
Baley followed the grocery business for eight years in Fresno, located on 
the ground floor of the Odd Fellows' hall building at the corner of Mariposa 
and I Streets where now stands the Farmers' National Bank, part of the 
time associated with the son Charles, during this period serving a term as 
county treasurer, elected November, 1884, and in 1888 withdrawing from 
business activity. He died at the age of eighty-five. 

He was the organizer of the Methodist Episcopal Church. South, in 
Fresno in 1872, with twelve members and a start with five, four of these of 
his own family. The house of worship, the first in Fresno, in the erection of 
which he was instrumental, was completed in 1876 and the first sermon 
preached in it on March 3. There were eleven children by the second mar- 
riage. The dead are : an infant that passed away on the overland journey ; 
Mrs. Elizabeth Ashman that was the wife of the sherifif; Lewis Leach Baley 
who died at the age of seventeen, Mrs. Rebecca M. Shannon of Alameda, 
who has been dead, for a decade, and Mrs. Catherine Krug of Brazil, who 
left Millerton in 18/1-72 and is survived by four children. The living of the 
Balev family are : 

Mrs. Frances Yancey, widow of Charles Abraham Yancey, of Toll- 
house. 

George Baley. rancher of Sentinel. 

Mrs. Ellen G. McCardle, widow of James McCardle, millman of earlv 



126 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

days, and mother of j\Iiss Sarah McCardle, the county Ubrarian of Fresno 
and of Edward McCardle, the title abstractor of Madera and historical 
authority, and of James who was county recorder of Fresno for a term. 

Charles C. Baley, long with Las Palmas winery and now watchman at 
the courthouse park, one of the few reliable authorities on early Fresno his- 
tory. At the old Academy school he was known as "Dates" because of his 
gift for recollecting dates in history. This gift he inherited from his mother. 
Of her it is said that she had at her finger's ends the birthdays of her eleven 
children and was an authority on the marriage, birth and death dates of 
the pioneer acquaintances of her day. 

Mrs. Nancy J. Greenup-Black of Academy. 

Mrs. Parthenia Hill-McKeon, widow of Spencer J. Hill, and wife of 
R. B. McKeon of Los Angeles. 

Jefferson M. Shannon 

Prominent in political and public life was Jefferson M. Shannon, a 
Missourian born, of whom they tell so many amusing tales that he must 
have measured up to Hamlet's description of Yorick as "a fellow of infinite 
jest and of most excellent fancy." Shannon first appears on the local hori- 
zon as a pork raiser and seller in 1854 at Coarse Gold Gulch, "making money 
hand over fist" in his dealings with the Chinese. He crossed the plains in 
the spring of 1850, as did his father before him, though the son did not 
learn of his death in the fall of '49 in El Dorado County until his later 
arrival. Jefferson located in Sonoma County as a butcher, and then came 
to Fort Rliller, after a time serving two terms as under and deputy sherifT 
and collector of the foreign miners' license tax. 

After removal to Fresno in 1873, he became connected with the land 
department of the Southern Pacific as general townsite agent for California, 
Arizona and New Mexico, also engaging in the new county seat in the 
wholesale and retail liquor trade. Removing to Alameda in 1888, he con- 
tinued as land and confidential agent until his death in June, 1902. At one 
time at Millerton, he reopened McCray's blacksmith shop with "an experi- 
enced and skilful workman," one Ah Kit, the most expert in his line in the 
county, and devoting special attention to the shoeing of horses and oxen. 
Shannon's dealings with the Chinese were so extensive and covered so many 
years that he came to speak their language fairly well. Business relations 
with Kit were so cordial that in appreciation the latter named his Millerton 
first-born, Jefferson Shannon Kit. This Chinese-American youth, who died 
in Fresno in January, 1908. was given a notable funeral, which was a curious 
combination of the modern and barbaric, the cortege led by a band which 
played rag-time and quick steps for dirges. Shannon died well-to-do as the 
result of judicious land investments. Children that survived him : 

Mrs. Mary Idria Toms, wife of \V. E. Toms of Alameda, now of 
Fresno. 

Scott Ashman Shannon, who manages the Fresno estate. 

Sidney J. Shannon from 1889-1901 in the accounting department of the 
Pacific Improvement Company, for some years thereafter land agent at 
Los Banos for Miller & Lux, now deputy ITnited States marshal : and 

Leland Stanford Shannon, rancher of Fowler. The older brothers are 
prominent Elks. Save Leland, who saw the light of day at Millerton, the 
others were born at the fort. 

Their mother taught the first private school in the county, receiving 
seventy-five dollars a month for a term of three months, this school 
at the fort barracks having an average attendance of fifteen. 

Jesse Morrow 

A picturesque character was Jesse Morrow, an Ohioan, who 
was lured by the '49 story of gold, crossed the plains to pass the winter 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 127 

at Salt Lake City, but being driven off by the Mormons pushed on with a 
smaller party which entered California by the Southern pass and disbanded. 
Morrow and six others, with food and blankets, trudged on westward 
through Cajon pass, trading rifle for beef, which was "jerked" for food, 
and crossing the Kern, met at Posey Creek, two survivors of a party of 
sixteen massacred by Indians. All returned to the Kern, there met an emi- 
grant train, of which Dr. Lewis Leach was a member, and pushed on north- 
ward. At Woodville (Tulare County) they came upon the scene of the 
massacre and buried fourteen corpses. Camping under guard and killing 
wild cattle as a food supply, they moved on to the Kings and the San Joa- 
quin, and a part of the party was engaged for Cassady & Lane to mine 
for them at Cassady's Bar. 

Morrow mined at Fine Gold Gulch and on the San Joaquin until 1856, 
when he removed to Los Angeles. He engaged in stock raising, and driving 
1,100 head of cattle to the San Joaquin continiK<l here in the ^tuck l)usiness 
until 1874. One year later, he took up sheep rai'-in- nii the plains, continuing 
this pursuit until 1882, having at times flocks \arying in number IrDUi 4.000 
to 20,000. Mr. ]\Iorro\v was at one time one of the richest men in the county, 
interested in mining, lending money but losing $160,000 through poor secu- 
rities, and owning land in the two county seats. In 1874, he was instrumental 
in erecting the Southern Pacific hotel, which came into his possession two 
years later. It was the caravansary par excellence of Fresno and bore his 
name for a time. It was on the site of the present Fresno postoflice building, 
was the Southern Hotel and the Henry House (Simon \\\ Henry of Miller- 
ton"), and later known as the ]\Iariposa Hotel. It was mo\'eil to the corner of 
Mariposa and Al nn the Jefif D. Statham property, in rear of the courthouse, 
but afl' r partial ilestruction by fire a few years ago removed to a third 
site an.] pr. ^rnt 1(. cation at the corner of Diana and Silvia streets. 

The Morrows were absentees from the Kings River ranch for fifteen 
years as residents of San Jose, and in his day he was probably the county's 
most extensive sheep raiser. 

Morrow was one of fate's victiius for at death in 18^7 he was practically 
a ruined man. Yet there is the authenticated tale that in one live stock 
transaction alone about $80,000 was piled up in payment on a table in one 
of the rooins of the old ^Morrow house. The kitchen portion of this structure 
was part of a building wheeled to Fresno from Alillerton. Two earliest deeds 
under date of June 9, 185.^, were by Morrow to McCray. one tnr .S-'K) inr 
the Millerton lot on which the Oak Hotel was erected, and the other for $2,300 
for the ferry formerly known as Morrow & Carroll's. It was the irony 
of fate perhaps that in June, 1874, McCray was sold out by the sheriff on 
execution, and that Morrow was the judgment creditor buyer, taking back 
some of the ver}^ property sold to ^NlcCray, when he came to Millerton a 
rich man. Morrow was associated with George C. Ferris and J. A. Van Tas- 
sell in a flour mill at Centerville, and retaining all interest on dissolution 
bought the grist mill of J. W. Sweem, three miles northeast of there, and 
for a time had the milling monopoly of the county. 

E. C. Winchell 

The E. C. Winchell family did not come to Millerton until 1859, but its 
position and standing in the community was a commanding one. For two 
years by a special dispensation from the government care-taker, it was 
permitted to occupy as a domicile the hospital building at the fort, and 
then moved to a settler's primitive cabin in Winchell's Gulch until a resi- 
dence could be erected. The family lived in the gulch for fifteen years. It 
continued as residents of Fresno i7ntil 1896, wdien it moved to Oakland, Cal. 

Judge Winchell, who died July 24, 1913, at Berkeley, Cal., was a 
recognized leader of the local bar, and influential in educational circles. Mrs. 



128 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Winchell conducted a select school for young ladies. He was of a literary 
turn and was in frequent demand for addresses on public occasions and cele- 
brations. He was county judge from 1864-67, district attorney from 1860-63, 
and the first county school superintendent appointed in February, 1860, 
with the organized Scottsburg, Millerton and Kingston districts. Mr. 
Winchell was a large property holder in the heart of Fresno City on Mari- 
posa, near J, and on J, between Mariposa and Fresno, but it passed out of 
his hands at loss. On this property he had erected in 1889 improvements 
involving a total investment of $42,000. Three children survive him namely: 

L. A. Winchell, a well-known citizen of Fresno, an authority on local his- 
tory and secretary of the Fresno County Pioneer Association. 

L. F. Winchell of Oakland. Cal., long connected here with the national 
guard in the days of the Third Brigade under Gen. M. W. Muller with 
Fresno headquarters and the Sixth Infantry battalion (later a regiment of 
six companies) under Cols. Eugene Lehe and J. J. Nunan, both of Stock- 
ton, and S. S. Wright of Fresno, as the organized military. 

Miss Anna Cora Winchell, newspaper woman, music and art critic for 
one of the San Francisco dailies. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

A Consideration of the Social Side of Pioneer Days in Fresno. 
Rough the Manners, the Labor and the Amusements. 
Woman's Lot a Specially Trying One. Big Families the 
General Rule of the Day. No Marriageable Woman 
Needed to be Without Husband. Weaker Sex in Numer- 
ical Minority. First White Children Born in County. 
Practical Jokes Characteristic of the Devil-me-care 
Spirit of the Times. Artlessness of the Political Candi- 
date. No Mincing of the King's English. 

The mollycoddle was unknown in the pioneer days. Had he existed, 
life would have been made an unbearable burden for him. They were 
rough times those days, especially in a mountain mining, or railroad border 
village. The men had rough ways and hard labor, were rough and plain 
spoken in language, rough in their games and amusements, and lacking the 
restraint of social environments and of the refining influence of the presence 
of good women, even their horse-play was the quintessence of boorish 
roughness. Life amidst such rough surroundings was to be borne only with 
the philosophic reflection that when among the Romans do as the Romans do. 

In the early days, every miner was a walking arsenal. Naturally, a 
popular amusement would be rifle and pistol practice, and tempted by the 
surroundings hunting and fishing. A game of cards called "rounce" was a 
prime favorite. Of course all the card and mechanical devices for gambling 
were at hand to tempt the unwary and reckless. And scrub mule and horse 
races had their attractions. Refining and intellectual entertainments were 
unknown in ]\Iillerton's earlier days. The coming of a political stump 
speaker, as in later times, was a veritable godsend, though as caviare to 
the multitude, because what need of Democratic pabulum in a hide bound 
Democratic stronghold — carrying coals to Newcastle as it were 

Woman's social lot was a specially trying one. No literary club, the 
time was not ripe for suffrage, no sewing cjrcle, no relief society meeting, no 
weekly evening prayer meeting. Not until county seat removal had been 
practically resolved upon, was there church service once in a month, and not 
until shortly before the removal was there a Sunday school established. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 129 

Eighteen years of village life with never even a missionary chapel cabin. 
At great intervals, mass was held on stated church festival days, with a 
clergyman sent for the occasion from Visalia for the benefit of those of 
the Catholic faith at Millerton. Masses were held on improvised altars at 
the fort residence, ]\Irs. McKenzie-Hart being a member of that faith. 
Supervisor J. B. Johnson recalls as a boy living at Visalia accompanying 
the priest several times to act as acolyte. 

The annual Methodist circuit camp meeting was always a great event 
and an opportunity for the exchange of social amenities. The main camp 
ground was on Big Dry Creek, near the Musick residence, though protracted 
meetings were also held near Centerville and at other points. Mrs. E. Jane 
Hyde kept the public table where board could be had at reasonable rates, 
a corral was maintained for the feed of horses by the day or week, and due 
reminder was given that "those expecting to remain overnight will please 
bring their bedding." 

No Millerton hubby could habitually absent himself from home at night 
on the lodge meeting plea, for it was not until almost the last that Odd 
Fellow and Good Templar lodges were formed, and they met at seven 
o'clock in the evening, and there was no "missing the last car home." True, 
there was the even then threadbare excuse to fall back on of "seeing a man 
on business," but if hubby overstepped the time allowance it was ten to one 
he could be speedily rounded up at Lawrenson's, or Friedman's or at Mc- 
Cray's, the latter the popular resort with sundry drawing attractions other 
than monte, faro, roulette, chuck-a-luck and the other devices. 

Mothers with their large progenies had their days fully occupied, so 
that after the domestic toils they were in no mood after supper hour for 
sociabilities. Family social calls were the main expedient for killing an 
idle period and exchanging the latest village gossip morsel. There was no 
threatened danger of race suicide then. Big families were the rule — the more 
the merrier apparently — and with no school and no compulsory education 
law there was not the frequent scrubbing, washing, combing and brushing 
of the voung hopefuls to pass the critical muster of the schoolma'm. It was 
an ideal existence for the young ones compared with the present day school 
attending preliminaries. 

BIG FAMILIES WERE THE RULE 

To hark back to big families. There was the Baley household of ten 
with eight budding girls, the Sample colony of twelve with six buxom las- 
sies and the "Uncle" S. H. Cole aggregation of ten by a first and third mar- 
riage, the Helm progeny of seven, the Gower of nine, the nine living of the 
eleven of John A. Patterson, a founder both of Fresno and Tulare counties 
and an organizing supervisor of them, the living three of the S. A. Holmes 
familv of ten, the surviving six of the nine by the first marriage of the late 
Dr. W. J. Prather to which were added two by a second marriage, John 
Sutherland with six, John H. Shore with seven, A. H. Statham with eight, 
and Russell H. Fleming and John Krohn each with nine, and Henry N. 
Ewing, the father of Treasurer A. D. Ewing and of D. S. Ewing, the lawyer, 
with eight, of which six lived to come to California. He hit upon an idea 
in giving the children names, the initials of which from A to H established 
their natal sequence. This is no fiction for here is the proof in names: 

1 — Achilles D. Ewing of Fresno ; 

2— Belle Z. Ewing (deceased) ; 

3 — Cora L. Clasby (deceased) ; 

4 — David E. S. Ewing of Fresno: 

5 — Emmett Mc. Ewing (deceased) ; 

6 — Forrest B. Ewing of La Habra, Cal. : 

7 — George M. Ewing (deceased) ; and 

8 — Harry M. C. Ewing (deceased). 



130 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

But instances of such large families are easily multiplied. The numeri- 
cally large family circle was the rule : the small or childless, the exception. 
Ponder a moment on the battalion of kin that the marriages in one family 
of the offsprings and relatives can in time muster up. A case in point is 
that of Mr. and ]\Irs. Josephus Hutchings, who in April, 1911, at Belmont 
in this city celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a reunion of 
kindred. The Hutchings have three children and his living relatives then 
were four married sisters. A tally was made out of curiosity at the celebra- 
tion, and the exhibit of local kindred was the following: 

Hutchings, 32; Stevens, 10; Nolans, 23; Burnetts, 23; Pecks, 28. Total 
116. 

The Hutchings are ox team emigrants from Iowa, who arrived in 
California in October, 1861, lived eight years at Stockton and then moved 
to near what is now Fresno, he and his brother, \\'illiam, being credited as 
the first to sow a crop of grain on the plains at what is now the Fairview 
vineyard, eleven miles east of Fresno. Robert Edmunds, a neighbor, erected 
the first domicile so far out on the plains, standing today at Fairview; 
\\'illiam, the second, and Josephus, the third. The latter and P. E. Daniels 
were first to enter the Coalinga field and develop it for oil, sinking, about 
1899, a well on the Wabash holding, proving it a million-dollar property. 
William surveyed and built under contract the big Gould irrigation ditch 
and system. 

Another notable illustration was furnished on April 13, 1917, at Clovis 
in the annual home-coming of the descendants of Mrs. Jane Sweany-Cole, 
"Grandma Cole" as she is known, to make joy over her eighty-seventh birth- 
day anniversary on the fifteenth. As the result of the marriage with \^'illiam 
T. Cole in 1854, ten daughters were born, nine living, the one deceased Mrs. 
Alice Hoskins (wife of the late William Hoskins) having lived to be aged 
forty years. Mrs. Cole counts eighty-two living descendants, all save ten 
resident in the county. Death has invaded the family to remove the father 
in June, 1907, one child, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. 
The surviving family members are : 

Children, nine; grand children, forty-one; great grand children, twenty- 
one. Total, seventy-one. 

The daughters are : Mesdames Sally, wife of D. C. Sample ; Angeline, 
wife of I. T. Birkhead ; Mary, wife of J. A. Stroud ; Jane, wife of F. S. Estell ; 
Ida, wife of John Bell; Kate, wife of W. F. Shafer ; Grace, wife of R. L. 
Hoag; Emily, wife of ^^^ J. Heiskell ; and Flarriet, wife of A. H. Blasingame. 

"Grandma" Cole crossed the plains with parents from Missouri at 
the age of twenty in 1830, family consisting of nine children. The journey 
occupied five months, California was entered at Emigrant Gap via Truckee 
and halt was made in Solano County. Cole came overland in 1849. also 
from ^Missouri. The Coles came to Fresno in 1860 and have lived here since, 
forty }'cars at Academy where he died, whereafter she moved to her present 
Clovis home. 

William Temple Cole named for his American progenitor, who was a 
Kentucky companion of Daniel Boone, was the eldest of nine brothers and 
five sisters, but the only family representative in California. He possessed 
remarkable physical strength and endurance, never met his superior in 
wrestling and in St. Louis attracted attention by lifting 500 pounds. Of 
splendid physique, he was noted as a pedestrian and runner, beating the 
stage often and walking fifty miles in a day from Auburn to Sacramento, 
carrying $5,000 in gold dust. He was a volunteer in the ]\Iexican War. At 
twenty-one he was an Indian trader in Kansas for two years, crossed the 
plains with mule team upon the report of gold, leaving the party at Goose 
Creek and pack-horsed to San Francisco, arriving August 10, 1849. Return- 
ing with the company's mail, he met the party on the Bear River, near the 
present site of Nevada City, closed up its affairs and then mined on the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 131 

Yuba until sickness compelled a change in location. He embarked in stock 
raising, two miles from Sacramento, also furnishing river steamers with 
wood for fuel. He prospered but lost all in floods. 

Ten years later he moved to Fresno, settling on the- Kings River and 
two floods left him poorer by $15,000 and a good farm. Moving to Academy 
for the superior school there, he engaged in stock raising on a section of 
land and in 1897 retired from active pursuits. The wife whom he married 
in Solano County, was the daughter of James Sweany, a pioneer of 1850, 
who lived in Nevada City, farmed in Solano and died in Visalia. In public 
affairs, it was said of W. T. Cole that he took no part "aside from casting 
a straight Democratic ticket at all elections." 

The pioneer men lived up truly to the biblical injunction that it is 
not good for man to be alone, and the women included themselves in the 
category. Second marriages were common and third not unusual. No mar- 
riageable lass in Millerton, or early Fresno, had to seek a beau. She had 
her absolute pick. The supply of girls did not meet the demand. No widow 
had need to repine for a provider. Every marriageable woman had only to 
say aye and she was snapped up in a twinkling. R. W. Riggs. the local his- 
torian and Pine Ridge philosopher, came to Fresno in February, 1881, 
and he is authority for the statement that he had reason for learning 
that even at that late day there were only fourteen marriageable girls in 
Fresno city but 200 willing ones to take them off their parents' hands. In 
the early days there was a disproportionate ratio between the sex representa- 
tives, and it continued until after Millerton had ceased to exist and Fresno 
was no longer a railroad border town. 

That white woman was no drug on the market was given published cor- 
roboration in the Expositor on August 7, 1872, in a humorous news item to 
the effect that ten or fifteen marriageable young ladies, "either of comely or 
plain appearance." are wanted immediately, Millerton being then without 
"a single one" and "at least twenty-five old bachelors in search of ribs." 
The inducement was held out that "there will be no necessity of long court- 
ships as they all mean biz." 

The marriage relation naturally suggests the question, \\dio was the 
first white child born in Fresno County? At the Millerton second reunion 
of the Pioneers' Society in Jnne, 1915, Stonewall J. Ashman went through 
the public mock ceremony of being crowned such. The honor was not dis- 
puted by the then living holder of the distinction, though commented upon 
at the time by her and W. J- Hutchinson, the president of the society, who 
had attended her wedding. The distinction then belonged to Margaret A. 
Boutwell, daughter of Hugh A. and Elizabeth Carroll, who married B. S. 
Boutwell, while a deputy of Sheriff Ashman. The first horn white girl in 
the territory was her older sister Mary, born in 1854 and died in 1865. Mrs. 
Boutwell died April 6, 1916. The newspaper "send off" on her wedding read: 

"In Millerton, April 26th, 1872, by Hon. Gillum Baley, Bedford S. 
Boutwell to Miss Maggie A. Carroll, all of Fresno County. Bully for you, 
Steve. We congratulate you. We hope that you and your blushing bride 
may have a long, pleasant and prosperous journey through life and finally 
die happy, and while we do not wish that your issue should be so great as 
that of vour namesake, the treasurer of the United States, we do hope that 
your offspring mav be sufficiently numerous to gratify your every desire 
and that they be honored at home and abroad." 

A specimen of the bucolic style of journalism, was it not? 

The first white male child born in the county is said to have been Scott 
Burford, who is living near Clovis. This is on the authority of John C. 
Hoxie. 

Charles C. Baley names Allen Stroud, late of Coalinga, and son of the 
pioneer Ira Stroud, as the first white male child born in the county. Of half 



132 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

breed children, there is a plenty in the county, offsprings of white fathers 
and of Indian and even Chinese mothers. 

BUCOLIC AMUSEMENTS AND JOKES 

The roughness of the bucolic amusements and practical jokes was in 
accord with the "loose devil-mc-care style" of the times. Early historians 
ever noted with elaborate glee the story that has become a stock one since 
1853, how Quartermaster Jordan of the fort — "shrewd, cunning and crafty," 
but for Jordan "first, last and all the time" — was checkmated by one John 
Newton. Jordan contracted with him to deliver all the hay he could furnish 
at fifty dollars a ton. Newton cured in the spring ten tons that he gathered 
in an immense stack. It was measured and accepted at fifty tons and paid 
for. The first load that Jordan hauled away laid bare the imposition. The 
hay was only a thin covering of a great rock boulder. Newton conveniently 
decamped, Jordan was beaten at his own game and the populace said it 
served him right. 

Another shop-worn tale is the one of 1856, anent T. J. Allen's restaurant 
with bar and justice of the peace annexes and the trial before a jury of 
three of Dr. Leach"s case on a claim of $350 with full verdict, notwithstand- 
ing that the court's jurisdiction was limited to $300. On the last day of 
grace for an appeal. Lawyer James T. Cruikshank came from Millerton to 
perfect that appeal on the unimpeachable ground of lack of jurisdiction. 
Warned of his coming and errand, the genial and frisky spirits that hovered 
around Allen's bench and bar to make themselves serviceable occasionally 
as jurors plied him with drink so assiduously that he was unable to prepare 
the papers, and at midnight was tenderly put to bed, the legal time for 
appeal having then expired. Cruikshank took in the situation next day 
(Sunday) and tramped home an euchered man. 

There was always something astir when Shannon was at leisure. He 
had a little horse known as "Jeff Davis" that held the blue ribbon in the 
county and brought him in many a dollar at races until he was matched 
one day at Kingston and met his Waterloo. But long before that in the 
summer of 1856, according to another tale that has been worn to a frazzle. 
Shannon and James Roan discovered a new sport — a footrace between 
buxom squaws. Shannon backed and trained the red, Roan the blue. The 
red won and Shannon was the richer by $150. Editor L. A. Holmes of the 
Mariposa Gazette commented on the novel- race to record that if Roan had 
kept his squaw in as good training as Shannon the race would have had 
another ending. 

The name of "Gabe" Moore, an Arkansas slave, black as the ace of 
spades, and brought to this state by Richard and \Mlliam Glenn, early set- 
tlers on the Kings River, has been handed down, because he "contributed 
more toward the fun and amusement of those people than any other man 
in the settlement," for which reason some of his transgressions were winked 
at. Gabriel was once in serious trouble, having coveted a squaw of Kings 
River Agent Campbell, who had introduced the Brigham Young custom of 
a plurality of wives with the red-skinned damsels. Tempted to his melon 
patch, Gabe committed an act comparable to the incident that befell the Sa- 
bine women, and Campbell vowed to kill him but consented to submit the 
matter judicially before W. W. Hill. The cabin courtroom was crowded at 
this cause celebre, Gabe who always appealed to his former masters when 
in trouble, was in fear and trembling at the outcome, nothing very intel- 
ligible was extracted from the native daughters, but the case being sub- 
mitted acquittal followed, after consideration of the case far into the night 
and the free introduction of liquid stimulants to ward off slumber. Years 
after in condoning his act, Gabe chuckled and grinned, "Ah massa, 'omen 
was scarce dem days." 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 133 

Gabe died in May, 1880. leaving for one in his station in life a nice 
little estate in trust for his black widow, Mary. 

McCray had a Newfoundland dog named "Dawson," whose wonderful- 
sagacity is the subject of many a tale. There was no fish for the hotel 
guests one Friday and McCray confided the fact to "Dawson." The dog 
jumped into the river from the ferry scow, swam about and anon returned 
with a fresh salmon in his mouth. They had fish for dinner that day. On 
another occasion and being overcome by too many of the cups that cheer 
even singly, McCray turned to "Dawson," intimating that it was bedtime. 
"Dawson" scampered off, returned with the candle stick for lighting and 
piloted his master to bed. "Dawson" was made a gift to Len Farrar, a 
Fresno saloon keeper and there long exhibited his intelligence for the amuse- 
ment of many a patron in the role of valet in the bringing of hats on de- 
parture and in like tricks. 

Recklessness in gambling was characteristic, with Converse a notable 
example of it. There was nothing that he would not risk the hazard of 
chance on. He would wager any stake on who could expectorate closest 
to a given mark. He and McCray laid a bet whose road was the longest 
from their respective ferries. Converse lost, and after the wager was paid 
it leaked out that the night before the surveyor's measuring chain had been 
shortened by several links. On another occasion, it is related. Converse was 
in a card game for high stakes — gold dust in buckskin sacks — at McCray's 
with cutthroat "greasers," and Converse was cleaned out. Undismayed, he 
excused himself, asked that the game be not halted, and on return reentered 
it, won back all he had lost, and more too. The buckskin with which he 
regained everything contained only sand that he had scooped up on the 
river bank during his temporary absence. 

Theodore T. Strombeck, a member of the Mariposa Battalion, known as 
"Swede Bill" — in those days a nickname was fastened on every one and 
surnames had not come into fashion — came nearest losing life as the result 
of a practical joke. He had placed a dab of limburger cheese in the hatband 
of a ]\Iillerton dandy, who resented the familiarity with a loaded shotgun. 
He met Strombeck and fired, but the latter being alert dodged behind a 
protecting rock and saved his life. 

Strombeck was another squawman. He died at the age of eighty-two 
in November, 1910. He was one of the Mariposa Battalion in the Indian 
War of 1851. He was a Stockholniite born, and in him the history of the 
territory for nearly sixty years was epitomized. He gained his nickname at 
a convivial gathering at T. J. Allen's Coarse Gold Gulch store of which he 
was keeper and at which all the Bills had been toasted and a second bottle 
was brought out for another round beginning with a pled.ge to the long 
life of "Swede Bill." The name ever after stuck to him, though William was 
not his. In January 16, 1918, John Strombeck, aged thirty-four of Auberry, 
and a descendent, took out license to marry Topsy Buffalo, aged thirty-eight, 
also of Auberry and the half breed couple matrimonized. 

PRO BONO PUBLICO APPEALS 

Published card appeals of political candidates were frank and artless. 
Here is an example : 

For County Surveyor 

The undersigned respectfully announces himself a candidate for County 
Surveyor of Fresno County at the ensuing election to be holden in Septem- 
ber next, 1871. Having been a permanent citizen of this county since organi- 
zation is believed to be a reasonable apology for not traveling over the county, 
renewing old acquaintance and establishing new, and having no inclination 
and but little tact for electioneering, I will not be found among the canvassers 
discussing the issues of the day. 

Millerton, May 2nd, 1871. M. B. LEWIS. 



134 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Unique was tlie following asking reelection as county judge, after a 
first election to the bench : 

For County Judge 

Millerton. Fresno Co., April 12th, 1871. 
FELLOW CITIZENS: — I take this method of announcing through the 
FRESNO EXPOSITOR, our county newspaper, that my name will be 
placed before you at the ensuing Judicial Election for reelection to 
the ofifice which I have the honor now humbly to fill. My official acts as 
County Judge for the past three years are known to the voters of this county 
(whether good or bad). I do not claim that I have not committed any errors, 
but I do claim that whatever those errors may have been, they were of 
judgment and not of the heart. I feel a desire to fill the ofiiice for another 
term, as I feel that I can do so more satisfactorily to myself, having gained 
some knowledge of the statute laws and practice of courts of this State. 
Feeling thankful, fellow citizens, for past favors, if reelected will continue, 
to the best of mv abilitv, to discharge the functions of the ofifice conscien- 
tiously under oath of ofifice. " GILLUM BALEY. 

In those daj's people minced not the King's English in newspaper pub- 
lished declarations over their signatures as witnesseth the following: 
Caution 

Under the above caption a notice has been published in the Fresno 
Expositor by J. C. Wood warning all persons not to trust his wife, Annie 
Wood, on his account, as he will not be responsible for any debt contracted 
by her. He need not fear or bother himself about me, he cannot pay his 
own debts, let alone mine ; he was run out of Stockton for not paying his 
debts and then beat me out of $600 and left me and my little children to 
starve. He has come here for me to support him, or he says he will kill me. 
It is a shame that our little quiet village of Fresno should be disturbed by 
such a worthless blackguard as he is. Even the clothes he has on his back 
the vile wretch robbed me of the money to purchase. The citizens should 
tar and feather such a miscreant and ride him on a rail. 

Fresno, February 8, 1877. MRS. ANNIE WOOD. 

But with all crudities and shortcomings, and after all is said and done, 
be it recorded to the credit of Millerton, at least, that it masterfully dodged 
the pitfalls of church choir, amateur choral or dramatic societies and silver 
cornet band. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

A Chapter, the Saddest in the County's History. Pathetic 
End of Three Men Prominent in the Early Times of 
Fresno. Caster as a Defaulter Dies Unmourned in a For- 
eign Clime After Thirty-two Years of Disappearance. 
Converse, Whom Fate Linked With Him as His Evil 
Genius, Fills the Neglected Grave of a Suicide. Closes a 
Checkered Career Fighting off Starvation at the End. 
McCray, Once Rich, Influential and a Prodigal Dies a 
Cancer Afflicted Pauper. He Lies in a Lost Sepulcher, 
THE Third Since Heartbroken Death. 

No chapter in early* Millerton history, and that means of the county, 
is sadder and more pathetic than that dealing with the lives and tragic end 
of three once prominent men — Stephen A. Gaster, Charles P. Converse and 



HISTORY OF. FRESNO COUNTY 135 

Ira AlcCray. The order of mention is not a measure of their relative im- 
portance or prominence, Ijut a sequence for the ijreater convenience of the 
narrative. Ciaster rests in an unknown grave in a far off land, (."<in\erse, in 
a suicide's, in the San Francisco potter field, and McCray in an unmarked 
and lost one somewhere in Fresno, after two exhumations. Of the trio, Gas- 
ter paid the heaviest penalty for the one great mistake of his life in trusting 
pretended friends too implicitly. 

STEPHEN A. GASTER 

Fate ordained to connect Gaster and Converse in extraordinary manner. 
Converse, who was a singular and incomprehensible character, may be re- 
garded as having been Caster's evil genius. Caster's disappearance and re- 
ported later end in a far tropical clime furnished the basis of a mystery that 
never has Iieen satisfactorily cleared. The man, who, it is believed, might 
have thrown all light on the subject, took the secret with him into the grave. 
Gaster never was heard from in self defense, but bowed submissively to his 
fate. No one has removed the stigma that rested over this unfortunate man 
without a country, with the name and memory of being Fresno's first oiificial 
defaulter and a fugitive from justice, whereas while technically a defaulter 
he was more the victim of fate and of cruel circumstances. 

Converse came to California in 1849, mining for gold on the Mother 
Lode in Mariposa County, later marrying and coming to Fresno, adding the 
cattle business to his mining operations and running a ferry at Millerton. 
He acquired wealth rapidly and spent it but not in dissipation. Neglecting 
a young wife, she took a divorce and in October, 1873, married Dr. Lewis 
Leach, whom she survives. After the separation. Converse became more 
"restless and reckless." His courthouse building contract was completed in 
admittedly "honest, skilful and creditable manner." It was during the pro- 
gress of the work that Gaster departed one day for San Francisco, ostensibly 
to be away one week. When he did not reappear. Converse gave out that 
he had a large sum of money deposited with him and needed it urgently 
to pay off his laborers. There was no deputy treasurer, the safe was locked, 
and the key was with Gaster. Converse hurried to the city ostensibly in 
search of Gaster, returning with the information that he had disappeared, 
leaving no trace. A warrant was issued for Caster's arrest for the embezzle- 
ment of public money. 

While all these circumstances looked bad for Gaster, still there was no 
proof that the money might not be in the safe. The doubt was judicially 
resolved by County Judge \\^inchell before whom the criminal proceedings 
were pending. He ordered the safe cut open in the county clerk's yard in 
the presence of nearly the entire assembled male population of the village. 
Fifteen twenty-dollar gold pieces were in the safe, which upon unquestion- 
able proof and according to the attached tags to the buckskin bag were the 
property of Andrew M. Darwin of the Upper Kings, to whom they were 
delivered, he having deposited $3,000 with Gaster several weeks before. The 
safe had otherwise been cleaned out of money. According to the report 
to the supervisors, of which there is minute record, some of the twenty-dollar 
pieces had found their way out of the bag, and in the removal of the safe 
from the courthouse had scattered into various compartments. 

It has always been a debatable question whether Gaster took any of 
the public money for own use and benefit. He was an old resident, of ex- 
cellent repute and lived with wife and children in simple manner. The last 
seen of him was at noon on a hot summer's day in August, 1866, walking 
from the front gate of his cottage yard, and upon approaching the stage- 
coach rumbling down the street on its way to Hornitas, thrusting arms into 
the sleeves of a thin alpaca coat. He was lightly attired, burdened with no 
baggage or incumbrance, entered the coach and never was again seen. 



136 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

At this time coin was the circulating medium, unless mayhap gold dust. 
There was no bank, express or post effice money order offices in the county, 
nor any form of printed money, except greenbacks for a brief period during 
the military occupancy of the fort, and these had disappeared quickly. It 
was physically impossible for Caster to have conveyed with him any con- 
siderable portion of the $6,600 missing funds in coin or dust without attract- 
ing notice, nor could .he have drawn on the alpaca coat, so burdened. Caster 
had no evil habits, did not drink, gamble, play the races or speculate. Nor 
was there proof that Converse knew what became of that money. 

Caster was an amiable and generous fellow, ever ready to aid or assist 
a friend. Inexperienced in public life, or in caring for large sums of money, 
he was such an impressionable man that "trusted friends" might have in- 
duced him to loan out $1,000 or $2,000 of the idle public money in the safe 
for brief periods to be returned on call, and "overborne by such specious 
arguments he may have loaned to trusted but faithless friends nearly all of 
the public money in his hands," and "when they treacherously failed to repay 
it his only escape from arrest and imprisonment would be in flight." 

Not a dollar of Darwin's money was touched. No receiver of Caster's 
favors has ever been mentioned by name. Intimation has been that Converse 
received large sums that were not returned, but there was never proof of it. 
Both are entitled to the benefit of every charitable doubt. Following Cas- 
ter's disappearance, some believed he was in concealment, others that he 
was dead, asserting he had been murdered. The wife obtained, two and one- 
half years later, divorce on the ground of desertion, married Converse and 
after a few years was divorced from him, also because of desertion. Thirty- 
two years after vanishing from sight in Millerton, Caster passed away in 
Central America, possessed of a little property. 

Caster was a man who weighed 140 to 150 pounds and was as dark as 
an Indian — in fact the general belief was that he was of Indian blood. His 
induction into office was under Ceorge Rivercombe, the first county treas- 
urer from 1856 to 1863. Rivercombe was a "squawman," living as a patri- 
arch among the Indians. He had so long and so thoroughly merged himself 
into their free and unconventional mode of life that it has been said of him 
that he was more Indian than white man. Caster succeeded him from 1864 
to 1866, closing his career with the disclosure of the defalcation. Caster was 
a butcher at one time with J. B. Royal and later with Ira Stroud, also in 
the saloon business with one Folsom, the estate continuing it until sale to 
Theodore J. Payne, who was shot and killed near the Tollhouse in the sum- 
mer of 1873. Folsom was a full blooded Cherokee, described "as an educated 
ward of the nation and a magnificent specimen of physical manhood." 

Twenty years ago, when the Caster case had been well nigh forgotten 
save only by the older residents, light was thrown upon it by the publication 
of an account that the theory had been generally accepted that he had been 
murdered probably for the money that he was supposed to have taken with 
him on disappearance. The last seen of Caster was when he left Millerton 
on the stage for Stockton whence he was to go by river steamer to San 
Francisco, the traveled route before the railroad's coming. Converse accom- 
panied him on the stage to the bay. Converse returned after a few days. 
Caster was never again seen. Converse said they parted at Stockton but 
that Caster had said that he would return home also in a few days. 

Suspicion fastened on Converse for Caster's disappearance, based on 
the ground that he was the last man known to have been in his company 
and that suspicion was never fully removed. However, after nearly three 
decades had passed, and while engaged in mining in Nevada and Utah — and 
quite successfully as the doubtful report had it — Converse made attempt to 
clear himself of the murder charge at least by locating Caster as a hale and 
hearty old man at Leon, Nicaragua, whither he had gone in 1866 after disap- 
pearance. The information was imparted in a letter by Converse to a friend. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 137 

and announced the successful result of his efforts to locate Caster through 
and with the assistance of the Washington Department of State. 

Appeal had been made to Secretary Olney who directed United States 
Minister Lewis Baker at Managua to investigate with the result of the fol- 
lowing letter from James Thomas, general agent for Central America of the 
Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and stationed at Leon. 
The letter read : 

"Replying to your favor of the 9th inst., I have to state that Mr. Stephen 
Caster resides in this place (Leon) and is running a sawmill. 

"Mr. Caster is an old man of seventy years but as energetic as most men 
at forty-five, and leads a very laborious life as he has always done since com- 
ing from California thirty years ago. He is generally esteemed for his hon- 
esty, industry and other good qualities, and though he has not been very 
successful in his business pursuits, has a few thousand dollars out at 
interest. 

"Caster was born at Baton Rouge, La., and went to California in 1850. 
He is of a respectable Creole family. He lived in California until 18fi6 when 
he came here. I have often advised him to go back to California and end 
his life with his children." 

In that letter Converse stated that he had located Caster eight years 
before through the efforts of Secretary Blaine, but the documentary proofs 
had been lost. It was said that an estate left by his father awaited the son. 
According to Converse's letter he (Converse) had made good the amount 
of Caster's defalcation. This statement was pure fiction because no restitu- 
tion was ever made. The Converse letter established nothing more than that 
Caster was alive. 

After the disappearance, the wife accepted the theory that so many 
others entertained that he had been murdered, though probably not sharing 
in the popular suspicion of Converse, for she secured divorce and married 
him. In February, 1900. Emma R. Clark as a daughter, aged thirty-six, peti- 
tioned the superior court to administer upon the estate of her father, which 
was represented to consist of sixty acres valued at $7,500 in Madera County, 
the site of the Ne Plus Ultra Copper Mine. The distribution was to the 
petitioner, to a son Henry M. Caster, forty, of Madera, a daughter, Arza D. 
Strong, thirty-eight, of Oakland, and another daughter, Orena V. Lowery, 
thirty-seven, of Visalia. Their mother could not participate in the distribu- 
tion because she had been divorced and could lay no claim. 

In later years in Fresno, when she kept a rooming house in the Gari- 
baldi-Olcese building at Mariposa and K, report had it that she was cogni- 
zant of Caster's existence in Nicaragua and report also had it that she was 
in correspondence with him. 

CHARLES P. CONVERSE 

Converse, who erected the courthouse, was also the first man to occupy 
one of its dungeon cells as a prisoner for the homicide of William H. Crowe 
on election day in September, 1876. The grand jury liberated him on the 
theory that he had acted in self defense. The homicide historically illus- 
trates the passions that political campaigns aroused in those days. With 
the exception of William Aldrich, the pick and shovel miner, as the sole 
Republican for years before and after the war, every other man in the county 
was either an Andrew Jackson or a Jeff Davis Democrat, excepting a few 
old-line Whigs, who though their party expired with Daniel Webster, still 
held to their beliefs and scouted the new Republican doctrines. Thus any 
political quarrel in the county could only arise in the house of Democracy 
itself. It arose during the shrievalty campaign of J. S. Ashman and James N. 
Walker, honest, capable and uncompromising Democrats, and both incum- 
bents of the office for two terms each. 



138 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Converse announcing himself for rotation in office, espoused the cause 
of \\'alker with all energy and activity in a "'hot and exciting canvass" not 
so much between the principals as between "rash and reckless adherents." 
Election day passed off quietly with the exception of the presence of armed 
men in public. The vote was light, and all qualified electors had voted by 
three o'clock in the afternoon when by common consent the count was started 
in the courtroom. Converse was in front of Payne's saloon, when a cobble 
hurled from within by a half drunken fellow passed close to his head. He 
fired at his assailant, missed aim and ball lodged high in the wall. Crowe, 
a confederate of the cobble thrower, sneaked up behind Converse and struck 
him on the back of the head with slungshot, only the thickness of a felt 
hat protected the skull from fracture. 

Stunned by the blow. Converse fell to his knees but arising fired and 
shot Crowe through the body. Crowe fell on hands and knees ten feet away, 
and tried to arise. and_ mutual friends rushed in to aid. In the general melee, 
John Dwyer, teamster with the original fort garrison and for years later 
in Fresno the driver of the "sand wagon," took to his heels to avoid the 
bullets and in the flight his hat was blown off by a leaden messenger. Con- 
verse struggled against a throng whom he fought as supposed assailants, but 
was landed finally on the courthouse steps and by multitude of hands his 
Samson like strength was overcome. After this tragedy, be became "more 
uneasy, irresolute and unsettled." 

He withdrew into the mountains, south of the Kings River. There he 
laid claim upon location to "a large amphitheater of forest and chaparral en- 
circled by mountain ridges." It bears to this day the name of "Converse 
Basin," though he never secured title. It has been ruthlessly denuded of its 
timber, including Big Trees, in the Millwood lumber mill operations. Upon 
return to the plains, he professed reformation, was admitted as a member of 
an orthodox church and publicly baptized in a font excavated for the cere- 
mony. For a time he discharged faithfully the newly assumed responsi- 
bilities, regained the confidence of former friends and secured that of new 
ones. He was in the real estate business, but the old unrest seized him and 
he drifted to San Francisco, where for ten years or more "his checkered 
life was spent in desultory endeavors to keep starvation at bay." He an- 
nounced himself as a mining expert and engineer. Converse was a striking 
figure, six feet tall, weighed 200 pounds or more, and in later years was 
largely developed abdominally. He was a man of great physical strength, 
and an expert swimmer, a demonstrated accomplishment that is cited to 
refute the assertion by some that his drowning in San Francisco Bay was 
accidental. The fact is that he met death in a second attempt at suicide, 
and when the waters of the bay gave up the corpse it was weighted with 
rocks, a circumstance that alone effectually disposes of the accidental death 
claim. He was a sociable companion, but a change came over him after 
Caster's disappearance. A shadow seemed to hover over him, say those who 
had known him in the days of abandon, when he was not always overneat 
or precise in attire, and yet was remembered for kindly and animated 
face, topped by a shock of stand-up-straight-in-the-air hair. 

For one of his physical proportions. Converse was of intense mental 
and business activity. He was a man of means in his day. Among his activ- 
ities were the lumbermill at Crane Valley, which after the 1862 flood passed 
into the hands of George McCullough. The ferry below Millerton, likewise 
the property on the village side of the river, also went to others. He was 
known as far back as 1851, when he and T. C. Stallo were general mer- 
chants at Coarse Gold. So well established was his reputation for restless- 
ness and financial improvidence, that despite strong partisanship and posi- 
tion he was never seriously considered politically. In connection with his 
Kings River sojourn, he tried to exploit a plan to cut the virgin timber in 
the basin, float the logs down the stream to railroad connection, and from 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 139 

there out as lumber from the saw uiill. Converse was a glib and plausible 
talker and almost interested capital in the enterprise. Logs had been floated 
to prove the feasibilit}- of the water transportation. A financial panic came 
on and capital dropped him. 

^^'ith the building- of the railroad. Converse is found on its payroll as 
a legislative lobbyist and an active partisan of its proposition of a $5,000 a 
mile subsidy for constructing the road through the valley counties. Senator 
Thomas Fowler made one of his record fights against the measure and the 
legislature killed it in the end. The closing years of Converse's checkered 
career were spent in San Francisco as a curbstone broker and mining expert, 
pursuing such a precarious course that not infrequently he was on the verge 
of starvation. To hail a former Fresno acquaintance was like clutching at 
the straw by the drowning man, for it meant a temporary loan, never to be 
repaid, to hold off the gaunt wolf of hunger. A perfunctory coroner's inquest 
with no relatives or acquaintances attending, and with no effort at a positive 
identification of the barely recognizaljle remains has left a doubt on which 
has been impinged a far fetched belief, entertained by some, that he returned 
to his native state and there ended his days a charge on the bounty of an 
old negro "mammy" in Georgia. This is manifestly incorrect for well is it 
remembered that A. H. Statham financed Converse to go to Georgia to 
claim an inheritance. It was thought he had been rid of for good and always, 
but the surprise was when he returned to close a subsequent precarious 
career in San Francisco. 

Extraordinary physical energies and activities, excellent intellectual 
abilities and fine social qualities were combined in a strange make up, with 
many elements of goodness that would have made him a useful and influen- 
tial citizen, had he not lacked the regulating balance wheel of rigid principle, 
or perhaps if his lot had not been cast among the turbulent and restless 
scenes of early California life. Converse and Gaster are in unmarked graves, 
yet singularly on the present site of Millerton stand, side by side, only two 
structures of the days when they lived, monuments to their memory — the 
courthouse that Converse built and the adobe saloon where Folsom & Gaster 
held forth, and Payne after them. 

Payne was shot in the leg in JNIay, 1873, and bled to death at Tripp & 
Payne's store on the Tollhouse road to Humphrey & Mock's mill. It was a 
wanton act, claimed to have been an accidental shot after target pastime 
by John Williams, a negro, who in December, was sent to the penitentiary 
for tvvo years for manslaughter. Payne had sold his saloon to retire from 
business, and was buried at the fort. 

IRA McCRAY 

Ira McCray came to Millerton a rich man, credentials which made it 
easy for him to jump into prominence, to be public spirited and as early as 
1857 to erect a $15,000 stone and brick hotel structure that was in all Mil- 
lerton's time surpassed only by the courthouse. He was the prince of good 
fellows, liberality personified, and if he had no other redeeming quality 
would have stood high alone for his credit, for it was said of him that "his 
word was as good as his bond," in marked contrast to Converse. 

McCray was a man physically as large as Converse, but better propor- 
tioned, weighing about 180 pounds. Bearded and mustached, he passed for 
a handsome man. As early as 1854, he and George Rivercombe, as hotel and 
liverymen, did "an enormous business," thanks probably in a large measure 
to the side issues. McCray was for years the popular idol, heart and soul 
in every public enterprise and movement, and an influence in the county to 
be reckoned with. He was one of the commissioners named in the act for 
the creation of the county. He filled the office of coroner from 1861 to 1871, 
acted in that capacity before that, under appointments, no one presuming 



140 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

to test popularity with him at elections. The coronership was peculiar in 
that in the very early days the office sought the man, and by tacit consent 
the award was to the most popular saloon man. 

The Oak Hotel was the popular resort. No bar was better equipped 
for the times. It was so commodious that four billiard tables were set out 
on one floor. Any game of chance was at call. There were card dealers 
under regular stipend, and one of these, it was said, was a backsliding Stock- 
ton preacher who had been a professional gambler before conversion. The 
Oak may not have been as lu.xuriously equipped as the modern hotel, but 
it was comfortable and well kept. It was prominently located across the 
way from the courthouse, the rear overhanging the river. Alongside were 
capacious stable and barn and the ferry, the river bank shaded, and con- 
nected with the house a park like retreat, very popular in the hot summer 
evenings. IMcCray was not a hotelman. He was a bachelor, accounting in 
part for the easy code of morals that reigned in the house. His factotum 
was a dandified negro known as Tom, such an amusing and forward fellow 
that he presumed at times on his familiarity with the whites in those easy 
and loose times. 

Various were the enterprises of IMcCray. He grubstaked miners and 
lumber prospectors, ran stages, including one to the discovered gold deposits 
at Sycamore Creek in the county in 1865. In the 60's he was in the zenith 
of full prosperity. The 1861-62 flood was only a temporary setback which 
was overcome for the overwhelming with other financial complications by 
the greater flood of that Christmas eve night, necessitating razing the 
hotel to one story, and ferry carried down stream and left a wreck at Con- 
verse's ferry at Rancheria Flat. His affairs had not prospered in the later 
60's. He was struck a hard blow in this flood, at a period when he could 
least bear it. Neither he nor the village recovered from the disaster. His 
losses drove him to drink, and he never again took courage. Efforts were 
made to recoup but it was a vain effort to retrieve a lost fortune. The Henry 
hotel opposition was enjoying the trade. Intoxicated with popularity and 
prosperity, JMcCray had neglected his own interests, being much of the time 
an absentee — known over the route to San Francisco as a prodigal spender, 
and his clerk, named Sullivan, equally as neglectful in his absence. The 
downgrade was swift and litigation followed on inability to realize on out- 
standing loans, accelerating closing out by the sheriff while on the brink of 
bankruptcy. 

IMcCray was probably the first man to set out a vineyard in the county. 
It went out in the 1861-62 flood of the Kings. But dejected over his deser- 
tion by fickle fortune, McCray closed out his affairs and as a practically pen- 
niless man disappeared in the summer of 1874 from Millerton. Report had 
it that he was mining in Arizona. He is back again in August, 1877. The 
prodigal had returned but Millerton was no more, those he once knew were 
scattered, and he, broken in spirit, health and purse, a dependent on the cold 
charities of the world. He tarried awhile with charitably inclined friends 
near Kingston, was also given shelter by the Baleys in Fresno, and was a 
sufferer from cancer of the right hand which Dr. J. A. Davidson of Kingston 
amputated. 

So wretchedly poor was he, that his removal in September, to the county 
hospital at Fresno City was at public expense. McCray was dying of cancer 
and a broken heart, an inmate at the hospital on the bounty of his old time 
friend. Dr. Leach. The thought of neglect and desertion by those whom he 
had aided and befriended in the days of affluence, when they were in need, 
embittered him and made him cynical. The cancer on the back of the hand 
was rapid in the developing, and despite the amputation spread and fastened 
upon him in the back of the right shoulder. He realized that the end was 
approaching. He was at the hospital less than three months and died on 
October 5, 1877, at the age of fifty 3-ears. Seven days after publication of his 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 141 

obituary, appeal was made in behalf of a raffle of an oil painting to raise 
money to fence in the grave. 

Even in the expressed choice of a last resting place, fate denied him. 
McCray and a boon companion named ]McLeod had chosen their burial 
spots on the banks of the San Joaquin River, where two oaks grew which 
for some unexplained reason leaved in the spring earlier than the surround- 
ing trees. McLeod was interred at the chosen spot on the Madera side of 
the river. McCray was to have been on the Millerton side on the sloping 
hill that merges into the river bank townsite and beyond the Baley residence. 
He was fated not to rest at peace even in the grave. 

The first interment was in the Fresno pioneer cemetery on what is 
now Elm Avenue, embracing part of Russiantown. With the building up 
of this quarter the cemetery was closed for a new one in the hollow east 
of town, in the vicinity of the Pollasky depot, including a portion of Hazel- 
ton Addition. The remains were presumably exhumed and removed thither. 
The living crowded out the dead even there, and when M. J. Church donated 
for a public cemetery a portion of the sandy tract, now in Mountain View 
Cemetery, northwest of town, McCray's remains were supposedly a second 
time taken up for a third burial in a spot that no one could locate today. 

McLeod was a clerk for the L. G. Hughes merchandizing firm at Mil- 
lerton and the son of a Hudson Bay Company trapper, inheriting the roving 
spirit of his parent and Indian mother. He returned to the Far West after 
his education in Scotland, allured by the discovery of gold. McCray being 
of Scotch ancestry, a natural bond of union sprung up between them, sev- 
ered only by death. 

After closing out his sawmill interests at Sawmill Flat, Tuolumne 
County, in 1852, IMcCray set out for Texas with his accumulations amount- 
ing to $40,000, purchased cattle and drove the band to California, locating in 
the valley and starting out on his early career of prosperity. He left no 
known kin. He ended his career as a pauper, when once he did not value 
money save for the pleasures it commanded. And yet from another viewpoint, 
it can be and has been said of him that the good in him outbalanced the bad. 

As with Caster, so with Converse and equally so with McCray : "The 
evil that men do lives after them ; the good is often interred with their 
bones." 



CHAPTER XXV 

Southern Secession Sentiment Strong in the County. Mil- 
lerton Born Newspapers Kept Alive the Political Rancor 
and Personal Animosities Engendered by the War. Dese- 
cration OF the Flag Incidents. Fort Miller Reoccupied by 
Soldiery in 1863. First Two Publications of the Swash- 
buckler Class Reviled and Villified the Administration. 
Fresno a Graveyard for Newspapers. Assassination of 
Editor McWhirter, a Bourbon Reform Democrat. The 
All Surviving Republican, the Conspicuous Journalistic 
Success in the County. 

If it was the covert design of the Millerton born newspapers to stir 
up and keep alive the rancor, personal animosities and political hatreds 
unfortunately engendered by the Civil ^^'ar, they succeeded. As news givers, 
they were parodies. 

It is to smile to read in historical reviews that "the earlier settlers of 



142 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the county cared little for politics." Fresno was ever a Democratic hotbed 
of politics, and things were done and said sometimes that were repented of 
in later years. This subject phase is one that conservative old-timers prefer 
to gloss over in charity. Like the record of "crime and deeds of blood and 
violence" that marks the first twenty-eight years of the county's history, it 
did much to retard progress, and it was longer than a generation before 
the evil ef¥ect was lived down. And in this chapter, the term "Secesh" is 
employed in no detractive sense, but is used as an expression that was on 
the tip of the tongue more often then than it is today. 

The people of the South suffered poignantly as the result of the war 
and the subsequent "Reconstruction Period." All honor is due the brave 
and chivalrous, who staked their lives, health and property in upholding 
what they religiously regarded as a just cause and a principle. It was nat- 
ural that they should stand with their native states. But the early Democ- 
racy in Fresno of some swashbucklers, who had placed nothing at stake for 
the cause and kept a continent between them and the scenes of battle strife, 
was nut always a sane, rational or safe one. It was of the fire-eating, un- 
forgiving, scditional brand that lived up to the declaration that the war was 
a failure, that reviled Lincoln as a despot and tyrant, even secretly exulted 
over his assassination. 

The two I\Iillerton papers were of the stamp tliat never made allusion 
to the Republican administration — Radical they called it — save to abuse 
and vilify. The short-lived Times was the fiercer, the Expositor the milder 
of the swashbucklers. The honest conservatives — the Democrat and South- 
erner from principle for principle's sake — were not with them. So bitter was 
the hostility that in the face of this "Secesh Democracy" in control, ever 
rolling under tongue its "constitutional rights and privileges" as a tender 
morsel, and holding on to office, it was not always safe to proclaim 'one's 
self a Republican or a sympathizer with the LTnion cause. This state of 
affairs was not singular to Fresno. It was duplicated in other localities in 
the state. Fresno had as loyal and high minded citizens as there were in 
the land, whatever their politics, but they were sometimes in the minority 
in places as against the bravos. There was no lack of desperate adventurers 
as shown in the recruiting for various Central American filibustering expe- 
ditions in California. 

A great change has, since the old days, come about in public sentiment. 
What with the population accessions, Fresno cannot be absolutely reckoned 
as once as in the Democratic ranks. In county and municipal affairs, party 
is no longer a fetich, but non-partisanship rules — it is the man and not his 
party. The old time party-line distinctions are not drawn or considered in 
home government affairs, and Fresno with county offices fairly well divided 
as between Democrats and Republicans has boasted for some years of its 
government administrations. Party lines are not even so strictly adhered 
to on legislative and representative offices. The ideal has not yet been at- 
tained, but the progress toward it has been more than satisfactor3\ 

Of the things above referred to there is no hint or suggestion in the 
local prints or reviews. The military administration kept watchful eye and 
ear, and took measures accordingly as in the reoccupation under Col. War- 
ren Olney of Fort Miller, in August, 1863, owing to a rumor of an intended 
uprising in the valley in support of the Confederacy. Possibly it was an 
exaggerated report, but nevertheless serious enough to be acted upon, with 
no telling what repressive effect the presence of the military had, even though 
it was well disposed enough toward the citizenship to aid in getting out a 
seditious Times paper publication. 

It was reported about this time there was at ^Millerton a military com- 
pany that drilled in secret, composed of avowed Southern sympathizers, and 
that when the federal soldiers came it disbanded and concealed its arms. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 143 

As late as in the 70's, there was another, or perhaps the same, secret society, 
oathbound never to assist at the political preferment of one who had ever 
borne arms against the Confederacy. The flag was desecrated and worse 
than dragged in the mire. A show of the banner on the national holiday 
was as likely as not to invite a demand to lower it, enforcing the mandate 
with show of Derringer or Colt revolvers. These are facts. There is no 
record proof of them. You have to learn them from living survivors of 
the times. 

Such an incident occurred at Centerville at a popular gathering. The 
flag was torn down, trampled upon, tobacco juice spit upon it as one version 
has it, defiled with human ordure according to another. The offender was a 
Confederate veteran, but a later loyal man, who deeply repented his act. 
At Areola, where Borden stands today, the townsite of the Alabama Settle- 
ment, one of the first agricultural communities of Southerners after the war. 
the German hotel keeper, a Union man, was almost beaten to death in a 
general melee over his refusal to lower the fiag on the 4th of July after 
demand. 

At Merced, Harvey J. Ostrandcr, a pioneer, the father of e.x-Judge F. G. 
Ostrander, a former attorney of Fresno, and one who cast his presidential 
vote for Fremont in 1856 at the mouth of a six-shooter, vowed he would 
kill whoever pulled down the fiag to be raised on the news of the firing 
on Fort Sumter in April, 1861. The excitement was so intense that the 
Unionists decided to defer the flag raising until the 4th of July, but the 
night before the pole was chopped down. In 1862, with the consent of 
those who had contributed to the buying of the flag, Ostrander unfurled it 
on his premises. It was not molested, but was kept flying during the war. 
Ostrander was a man whose word was not to be doubted. He died at the age 
of ninety-one, remarrying at eighty-three. 

The late Frank Dusy, who was in many early day fields of activity, had 
a more pleasing ending to his experience at Hornitas in Mariposa on the 
national holiday, when he drove into town, displaying two little flags in the 
harness of his mules. He was commanded to remove them. He gave re- 
minder of the day, and announced he would display them in his drive through 
town, and let the man beware that touched them. Dusy whipped out two 
revolvers and with one in each hand drove through the village street from 
one end to the other with flags and revolvers in defiance. His spirit and 
courage won the day. An impromptu parade formed, and those that had 
gathered to molest him tarried to listen to the village orator spread eagle 
harangue. Snelling, former county seat of Merced, was another hotbed of 
Secessionists. When the news came on August 9, 1861, of the bloody defeat at 
Manassas Junction, the Snellingites fired salvos of cannon in rejoicing over 
the slaughter of 10,000 "Yanks." P. D. Wigginton stumped the county several 
times for the anti-union candidates, aided by one Jim Wilson, who fiddled to 
songs. Two of his favorites were: "We'll Hang Abe Lincoln to a Tree," and 
"We'll Drive the Bloody Tyrant, Lincoln, from Our Native Soil." 

Wigginton became, in 1886, the candidate for governor after the Fresno 
state convention of the new born American party, and John F. Swift was the 
Republican nominee for governor, and Bartlett the Democratic. The vote 
was: Bartlett (D), 84,970; Swift (R), 84,316; and Wigginton (A), 7,347. 

The Merced Banner was the war time sedition spreader. William Hall 
of the Merced Democrat was arrested in July, 1864, for uttering treasonable 
language and cooled of? on Alcatraz Island. The day after, Charles L. Wel- 
ler, chairman of the Democratic state central committee, was also arrested 
on a similar charge in San Francisco. He took the oath of allegiance and 
was liberated after three weeks spent on the island. 



144 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

One form of disloyalty among the so-called Copperheads in California 
was the advocacy of a Pacific Republic by northern men with secession 
leanings. There was not infrequent reference to this movement in the Demo- 
cratic journals. It was a thinly disguised one in aid of the Confederacy. Its 
flag was actually raised at Stockton on January 16, 1861, on a craft in Mor- 
mon Slough, but the halyards were cut down and a small boy climbed the 
mast and hauled down the banner. But while other instances can be cited, 
sufficient as showing the intolerant spirit of the times. The subject is not 
a pleasant one, and is dismissed with the following quotation from an Ex- 
positor editorial of January, 1871, defining its attitude. It said: 

"We are not in favor of Union, if it means that we must unite with 
a party composed of scalawags, political demagogues of the meanest and 
most corrupt order, negroes, thieves and every other class of nondescript, 
such as are found in the ranks of the so-called Union party." 

And as late as 1879, when war animosities should have been mollified, 
the Expositor had this contemptible allusion in a historical review to the 
military reoccupation of Fort Miller: 

"When President Lincoln died, men had to be very careful about ex- 
pressing themselves in regard to the matter, for spies were employed to re- 
port to headquarters any thoughtless or inadvertent expression of satis- 
faction at Lincoln's death." 

Lincoln's assassination referred to as a "death !" That "any expression 
of satisfaction" over a murder should be mitigated as "thoughtless and in- 
advertent !" 

Fort Miller was evacuated September 10, 1856, after the Indian troubles 
and placed in charge of T. C. Stallo as government caretaker. It was re- 
occupied in August, 1863, by the Second California Infantry under Lieut. 
Col. James E. Olney and garrisoned during the war by various organiza- 
tions as late as November, 1865, when again abandoned to a caretaker, Clark 
Hoxie, and the buildings sold later to Charles A. Hart as the best bidder 
for a bagatelle. 

CALIFORNIA IN THE WAR 

Fort Miller was the first permanent post south of the next nearest mili- 
tary establishment at Benicia Barracks and the arsenal there. There is no 
disguising the fact that the military authorities kept watchful eye on the 
region in the San Joaquin Valley which was believed to be a stronghold of 
Southern sympathizers with nests at Snelling, Millerton, Visalia and in 
Kern County. Camp Babbitt was located in Tulare County as next to Fort 
Miller, and Fort Tejon as the last in the string in Kern. There is no record 
proof of the fact but the incident was a matter of common knowledge as 
indicative of the spirit of the times and recalled by old timers that early in 
the war a lot of young university students, including a handful from Fresno, 
enlisted in the army (Second California Infantry) organized at San Fran- 
cisco and Carson City, Nev., in October and November, 1861, with earliest 
enlistments in September. The plot was to enlist ostensibly to be sent to 
fight the Indians notably the Apaches that were on the war path, but to 
desert en masse in the field and join the Confederate troops. The story is 
that the plot was discovered and instead the program was changed after 
regimental organization by sending five companies to Oregon and AVashing- 
ton territory to relieve the regulars and two to Santa Barbara. Thus the plot 
was foiled. 

The Second's first colonel was Francis J. Lippitt, who was mustered 
out in October, 1864, and in March, 1865, brevetted brigadier general. He 
had come to California as a captain in Stevenson's New York regiment in 
1847 to occupy California after the war in Mexico. He was also a member of 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 145 

the 1849 constitutional convention at Monterey. After the muster out of 
the original regiment, the veterans were reorganized with new recruits into 
a regiment witli Thomas F. Wright as colonel. He was a son of Brigadier 
General George A\'right of the Ninth Infantry regiment who during the war 
commanded the Department of the Pacific. The son was brevetted a briga- 
dier in 1865, was mustered out in the spring of 1866, subsequently became 
a lieutenant in the regular army and was assassinated at the peace palaver 
with the Alodoc Indians in the Lava Beds in Northern California April 26, 
1872. Gen. Geo. Wright was drowned July 30, 1865, in the wreck of the 
Brother Jonathan en route to assume command of the Department of the 
Columbia. 

To nip in the bud any Confederate uprising in the valley region the 
Second California Infantry garrisoned Fort Miller during the following 
periods: 

Regimental headquarters and Company A, August 3, 1863, to October 
9, 1864; Company B, August to December, 1863; Company G, August 1 to 
August 23, 1863; Company K, December 26, 1863 to October 1, 1864. 

Company A, Second California Cavalry, September 30 to November 31, 
1865, then moving to Camp Babbitt, near Visalia, until called to Camp 
Union, near Sacramento, for muster out in April, 1866. The following troops 
of the regiment also garrisoned Camp Babbitt: E from August 31 to Oc- 
tober 31,'l865; G from February 1, 1864, to August 1, 1864, an^d I from April 
30, 1863, to January 1, 1864. 

Fort Tejon was occupied at various times during this period and July 
24, 1864, a detachment of Troop F of the Second Cavalry was sent to Snell- 
ing, Merced County, from Camp Union to arrest William Hall of the Merced 
Democrat for treasonable publications and to convey him to the military 
prison at Alcatraz Island. 

Located so far away from the more active scenes of the war, California 
was not called upon to furnish troops for immediate service against the 
Confederacy. No quota was assigned it. Yet during the war calls were made 
upon it for two regiments of cavalry, a battalion of four companies of Native 
Cavalry notable for the "unusually large number of desertions from it," 
about eighty from one and more than fifty from another troop, eight regi- 
ments of infantry, a battalion of seven companies of Veteran Infantry, and 
one of six companies of Mountaineers, serving in the northernmost counties 
as infantry. There was also the "California Hundred" company that went 
East accepted as Troop A of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry and later 
the California Battalion also attached to the Massachusetts regiment as 
Troops E. F, L, and M. These Californians were in hard service for nearly 
two and one-half years participating in over fifty engagements. They were 
at the surrender at Appomattox courthouse and in the grand review at 
Washington on May 23, 1865, when and where "the California companies' 
colors were greeted with enthusiasm by the highest and bravest in the land." 
Eight companies of the First Regiment of Washington Territory Infantry 
Volunteers were also recruited in California, making altogether 17,725 volun- 
teers furnished by the Golden State. 

With the exception of those in the IMassachusetts regiment, the Cali- 
fornians took no part in the great battles. Their service was notwithstanding 
of as great importance as that rendered by those from other states. It was 
as severe and entailed long and fatiguing marches across burning deserts 
and over almost inaccessible mountains. They were engaged in hundreds of 
fights with Indians and small forces of Confederate troops on the frontiers 
in Texas and New Mexico. They never knew defeat. The government for 
good reasons deemed it wisest to keep them on the Pacific Coast and in the 
territories. They occupied nearly all posts from Puget Sound to San Elizario, 



146 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Texas, and by their loyalty preserved peace in the western states and terri- 
tories and drove the flag of rebellion beyond the Rio Grande. 

It will be recalled that at the outbreak of the war the United States 
forces on the Pacific Coast were under command of Brev. Brig. Gen. Albert 
S. Johnston. His loyalty was in doubt because he was a southern man. Brig. 
Gen. E. V. Sumner was ordered under date of March 22, 1861, to leave New 
York April 1 to relieve Johnston and "for confidential reasons" the order 
to sail was to remain unpublished until his arrival at San Francisco. Having 
arrived Sumner reported officially that it gave him pleasure to state that 
the command was turned over to him in good order. In a later report he 
stated : 

"There is a strong Union feeling with the majority of the people of 
this state, but the Secessionists are much the most active and zealous party, 
which gives them more influence than they ought to have from their num- 
bers. I have no doubt there is some deep scheming to draw California into 
the secession movement; in the first place as the 'Republic of the Pacific,' 
expecting afterwards to induce her to join the Southern Confederacy. . . . 
I think the course of events at the East will control events here. So long 
as the general government is sustained and holds the capital the Secession- 
ists cannot carry this state out of the Union." 

General Johnston was a high minded man. History has done him in- 
justice. He was committed to the doctrine of state allegiance. He had de- 
clined the command of the Southwestern Department because he held that 
if Texas seceded he would be bound in honor to surrender to the national 
authorities the public property intrusted to his care. Persuaded that his na- 
tive state had a permanent claim on him he would not place himself in the 
position where he might be compelled to antagonize it. Letters written by 
him at the time viewed with alarm the threatening dissolution of the Union 
and many believed that he had asked assignment to the Pacific Department 
that he might be removed from participation in the impending issue. He 
always congratulated himself that no act of his contributed in bringing on 
the issue. 

General Johnston had sent on his resignation before Sumner's arrival 
and with his relief severed forever connection with the United States Armv. 
His resignation was withheld from the newspapers until after he had been 
relieved to guard against any ill effect that his act might have upon others 
and he declared that so long as he held a commission he would to the last 
extremity maintain the authority of the government. "If I had proved faith- 
less here," said he, "how could my own people ever trust me?" Johnston was 
ordered to report at Washington for active service ; he was advised by 
letter that he enjoyed the confidence of the secretary of war; and when 
President Lincoln learned the facts he executed a major general's commis- 
sion for Johnston but the latter having already started for Texas the com- 
mission was canceled. Johnston accepted a general's commission in the 
Confederate army and was killed while in command at Shiloh. When in- 
formed that a plot existed to seize Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay 
he caused several thousand muskets to be removed from Benicia arsenal 
to the island where they would be less exposed and informed the governor 
that they could be used by the militia to suppress insurrection if necessary. 
His integrity was so universally recognized that he was not approached on 
the subject of a Pacific Republic favored by many in the event of a disso- 
lution of the Union. 

The first call for troops from California was in a telegram at eight- 
thirty P. M., July 24, 1861, to farthest point west and thence by pony express 
to California, accepting for three years a regiment of infantry and five 
cavalry companies to guard the overland mail route from Carson Vallev to 
Salt Lake and Fort Laramie. The First California Infantry of ten companies 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 147 

and the first battalion of five companies of the First California Cavalry were 
raised. In 1863 seven more cavalry companies were raised, making a full 
regiment. August 14, 1861, a telegram to Fort Kearney and thence by pony 
express and telegraph came as the second call. It was for four regiments of 
infantry and one of cavalry. The Second Cavalry and the Second, Third, 
Fourth and Fifth regiments of infantry were mustered in. 

There were at this time and later many evidences in this state and 
adjacent territories of sympathy with the rebellion and there was a feeling 
that "California is on the eve of a revolution." The Confederate govern- 
ment had entertained hopes in the earlier period of the struggle to secure 
New Mexico and Arizona and thus if possible gain foothold in California 
to obtain supplies, horses and money. A large force did come through 
Texas, captured New Mexico and advanced almost to the Colorado River. 
A party of seventeen organized in California by one Dan Showalter was 
surprised near Warner's Ranch on the border of the desert between that 
place and Fort Yuma, Ariz., by First California Cavalry and Infantry de- 
tachments. It was loaded down with arms and ammunition, armed with re- 
peating rifles and from dispatches intercepted and also found on their per- 
sons it was discovered that several of the party were commissioned as 
officers in the Confederate service. The entire party was confined as pris- 
oners of war at Fort Yuma until exchanged. 

At this time it was considered that "there is more danger of disaffection 
at Los Angeles than at any other place in the state," and troops were trans- 
ferred there from Forts Mojave and Tejon. Insurgents were also designing 
to seize upon the province of Lower California as a preparatory step to 
acquiring a portion or the whole of Mexico and having possession cut off 
American commerce, seize the Panama steamers and with the aid of the 
treasure extend the conquest to Sonora and Chihuahua at least. With the 
check at Los Angeles, the Secessionists became active in Nevada territory 
then without a civil government and the country "a place of refuge for 
disorganizers and other unruly spirits." It was a time for vigilance on 
every hand save in Oregon where there was no secession element. 

When the first call for troops came it was understood that they would 
be used to guard the overland mail route via Salt Lake. But it was after- 
ward decided to use them for an invasion of Texas by way of Sonora and 
Chihuahua, landing at Mazatlan or Guaymas in Sonora, permission having 
been granted by the governors of those Mexican states and by the Mexican 
government. General Sumner was assigned to the command and the expedi- 
tion troops were selected. This proposition to send California troops out 
of the state created intense excitement and feeling and in response to an 
earnest appeal the secretary of war countermanded the order. The protest 
was by sixty-five business men and firms of San Francisco dated August 28, 
1861, and it stated among other things that their advices "obtained with 
great prudence and care" show "that there are upwards of 16,000 Knights 
of the Golden Circle in the state and that they are still organizing even 
in the most loyal districts." The protest had its effect. 

It is not the intention to follow the movements of the California troops 
during the war further than to emphasize that there was danger from the 
Secessionist movement on the Coast. The Texas invasion having been 
abandoned. General Sumner was ordered East and was relieved by General 
Wright. The California troops were stationed at various places throughout 
the state. The regulars with the exception of the Ninth Infantry and four 
companies of the Third Artillery were ordered East. At this time (Novem- 
ber. 1861) there were in the department a force of 200 officers and 5,082 
enlisted men. Then followed the organization of the California Column that 
recaptured New Mexico which at that time comprised territory within the 
present limits of Arizona. The column proceeded as far as Texas and the 



148 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Rio Grande, driving the Confederates before it, a military achievement re- 
ported to have been creditable to the soldiers of the American army, the 
march of the column from California across the Great Desert having been 
in the summer months in the driest season that had been known for thirty 
years. 

California and the Pacific Coast states and territories remained loyal 
to the Union. The secession movement was after all mere propaganda as 
the sequel proved. 

TIMES OF MILLERTON 

Fresno went along for nearly nine years after county organization before 
it had a home paper in the Times, whose first pubhshed number ap- 
peared on Saturday January 28, 1865. It was delayed two weeks in coming 
out. It issued ten weekly numbers and its last was on April 5, 1865. The lack 
of a paper was not that there was dearth of news, but that the time was not 
ripe for one, primitive and apologetic as were the "cow-county" publications 
of the day, hazardous financial undertakings at best, and ever remembering 
Millerton's isolation and as yet comparative sparse population. Ira McCray 
was the financial sponsor of the Times. His own affairs were not flourishing. 
The Times was published in a shanty on the river bank, opposite McCray's 
Hotel and poorly equipped. 

In the 50's and early 60's, the Millertonites had the Mariposa Gazette 
for county official organ (merged with the Free Press in 1871, as a Demo- 
cratic paperj and others that had a local circulation were the weekly Vi- 
salia Delta (a pioneer of October, 1859), and the Argus of Snelling, Merced. 
In vogue among the miners was the Sacramento Union (now the Record- 
Union and oldest continuously published newspaper in the state), and from 
San Francisco the pioneer Alta California and the Bulletin, both boosted 
into prominence by the Vigilance Committee of 1856, and during and after 
the war the original Examiner as an evening paper concerning whose true 
blue Democracy there was not the shadow of a doubt and whose editorial 
declarations were accepted as articles of faith. In 1856, when Fresno had 
its birth, there were in the state 116 publications classified as follows: Dai- 
lies twenty-five, weeklies seventy, steamer day or semi-weeklies sixteen, 
monthlies four, quarterly one. Politically twenty-three were Democratic, 
nine American, eight Republican for that party was in the gestation and 
thirty-three independent ; seven were in languages other than English ; and 
thirty-two in San Francisco, seven at Sacramento, five at Marysville and 
three at Stockton as the commercial and population centers. In fourteen 
counties there was no paper issued. 

The Millerton Times' delayed first issue was brought out with the vol- 
unteer aid of citizens and the soldiers at the fort to run the Washington 
hand press. The plant was that of the defunct Tulare Post of Visalia. The 
editor of the Times was Samuel J. Garrison, also of Visalia, who died 
three or four years ago, and who was a bitter, uncompromising, fire-eating 
Secessionist. He was a Son-in-law of T. O. Ellis, who was for three terms 
county school superintendent of Fresno and who asserted that the blood 
of Princess Pocahontas coursed in his veins. Before coming to Fresno, 
Garrison was the junior of Hall & Garrison, who in September, 1862, at 
Visalia, began the publication of the Equal Rights Expositor. It raved so 
loud and persistently in seditious, treasonable and personal utterances that 
on a certain March evening in 1863 a long sufifering populace sacked the 
printery and flung the type out of the window into the street. The immediate 
provocation for the outbreak was an article headed. "California Cossacks." 
This at Visalia, a stronghold of Southern sympathizers, with a camp of 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 149 

federal soldiers on the outskirts of town, sent as at Millerton to curb any 
threatened or proposed demonstration. 

There is in existence only one known file of the ten issues of the Times. 
It was the one preserved by William Faymonville while county clerk, pre- 
sented by him to J. W. Ferguson and being bound with the first volume of 
fifty-two weeklies of the Expositor came after his death into the possession 
of Edward Schwarz, bibliophile and curiosity collector. He made gift of 
the first number, protected in glass frame, to the late Dr. Rowell, the founder 
of the Republican. The Times was a little six-column folio publication and 
unique, aside from the fact that it was the pioneer journal in the county 
and six weeks in the travail of birth. Neat and clean in typography, the 
Expositor was so similar in size and make-up that there was little to 
distinguish them, save in the first page headlines. During its brief career, 
the Times flatly repudiated the Democratic party wing in power in the 
state, asserting that "the party claiming to be Democratic is a_sham," with 
"no fixed principles," lacking "the courage to defend the past nor the sense 
to grasp the future," etc., and that "no great party will submit to the lead- 
ership of such men as ]\IcClellan, Seymour, Weller, Bigler," etc. As a 
curiosity the file repays examination. In course of time the printing plant 
was hauled back to Visalia. 

FRESNO WEEKLY EXPOSITOR 

An interval of five years elapsed before the second journalistic venture 
at Millerton on April 27, 1870, in the Weekly Expositor, published on 
Wednesdays by Peters & Company and launched with the coming of J. W. 
Ferguson, a California pioneer of August, 1849, from Yuba City, J. H. Peters 
retiring in November, 1871 ; then by Ferguson & Heaton until purchase of 
the latter's interest in October, 1873, C. A. Heaton going into the real 
estate and agency business at Millerton. 

The Expositor's birth was in humble surroundings, and its first issue, 
200 copies, was worked oft' on a Washington hand-press. The printing ma- 
terial was hauled from Stockton for a supposed rate of two cents a pound. 
The bill was seven cents and the plant was mortgaged to meet charges to 
Chicard & Company, who took part pay in advertising. Being notified to 
secure other quarters within three days, the Expositor was installed in a 
stable. Eight months were passed there, with the journalists cooking in 
the printery on a second-hand stove, because business would not justify 
boarding at a hotel. A carpenter shop was the next locale. 

The Expositor moved with the town to Fresno and on April 22, 1874, 
was the first paper issued in the future Raisin City, in a building, the lum- 
ber of which was brought from Millerton. It was located on the site of 
the Fresno National Bank, and now by the Bank of Italy's skyscraper. In 
1881 the paper moved to a location midway in the block on J Street, the 
first daily was issued on April 3, 1882, followed by several enlargements, the 
erection of a $12,000 two-story brick building, with other enlargements up 
to January, 1890. 

The Ferguson residence was on the bank corner in which depression an 
orange grove was planted, later removed and now surrounding the Ferguson 
Mansard roof residence at J and San Benito, in its day one of the most pre- 
tentious city residences and long a notable landmark. 

The Expositor ceased publication during the Spanish-American War. 
It had lost prestige in its last years with ownership changes as the personal 
organ of ambitious political aspirants, dying slowly from inanition and neg- 
lect after losing the patronage and support of its own party following one of 
the many divisions and quarrels in its ranks. For years it did "a land office 
business" in a most lucrative field, with practically no opposition. A sensa- 



150 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

tional episode connected with its long career was the alleged assassination 
of Louis B. McW'hirter, a Democrat of the Bourbonistic school, who after 
disposing of his part interest in the daily Democrat in August, 1888, became 
editor of the Expositor and was a leader in partv reform politics in the early 
90's. 

The first trial before the late Judge Holmes of Richard Heath for the 
killing, on August 29, 1892, was one of the celebrated cases in the county, 
the evidence supporting the assassination theory being largely circumstantial. 
The claim was set up on the trial that McWhirter had committed suicide — one 
of several constructive defense pleas. 

Heath was indicted in March, 1893, with Fred W. Polley, a carpet layer, 
by a grand jury of which the late ex-Judge Hart was foreman. The June 
trial lasted thirty-two days ending in disagreement. The jur}^ stood eleven 
for conviction and one for acquittal — ^Juror J. H. Lane who made declaration 
that firearms were coercively exhibited in the jur}^ room. Change of venue 
was denied and the thirty days' second Fresno trial in March, 1894, before 
Judge Lucien Shaw of Tulare, also ended in a disagreement. Change of 
venue was granted to Los Angeles County, but the case never again came 
up. The Polley indictment was dismissed in October, 1893, and Heath died 
later in Alaska in the Klondike gold fields. 

FRESNO REPUBLICAN 

In March, 1875, Heaton mentioned before, issued the weekly Review. It 
lived only a few weeks, followed on September 23, 1876, by the Fresno 
Republican as a weekly, established by the late Dr. Chester Rowell with 
whom were associated representative citizens. Republican in politics, popu- 
larly called "The One Hundred," and the founders of the party in the county. 
The first issue of 750 copies created a stir, herald as it was of the party 
that was to combat Democracy in its stronghold. 

After the presidential election that year, it was $900 in debt, with prac- 
tically no subscription list and only limited advertising patronage. Dr. Rowell 
a.^sumed personal management and all obligations. He kept it alive bv fre- 
quently meeting its labor hire demands, for the struggle was a hard one 
calling for frequent sacrifices to make deficiencies good. The conduct of 
the paper gave him, however, the popular confidence and respect, that in 
1879, elected him a state senator from a strong Democratic district. 

In April, 1879, sale was made to S. A. Miller, stipulating that its politics 
and name should never be changed, nor its policies as regards public mat- 
ters and never to amalgamate with its rival Expositor for business or poli- 
tics. Under Miller the paper prospered. John W. Short from Nebraska be- 
came associated with the paper in May, 1881, for four years, and with J. W. 
Shanklin as partner they bought a half interest and' on October 1,1887, 
established the morning daily and met with success. A sale followed in 
May, 1890, to T. C. Judkins, whose regime lasted about one year with many 
improvements. Financial obligations undertaken were so great and pressing 
that Dr. Rowell came again to the rescue and the incorporated Fresno Re- 
publican Publishing Company took charge with a clean slate and has con- 
tinued ever since. After being in various locales, the Republican was located 
under Short & Shanklin in the Grand Central Hotel annex, then in the Edg- 
erly block, and in a brick structure in rear on J Street, and in 1903 moved 
into its present commodious home opposite the postoffice. 

The directors are: Chester H. Rowell fpresident, editor and general 
manager), John W. Short, Milo F. Rowell, F. K. Prescott and Williarn Glass 
(secretary and business manager). The personnel is practically that of the 
incorporators, Milo F. succeeding the late Dr. Rowell in the board and the 
nephew, Chester H., to the presidency, when before he was vice-president. 
The Republican has a splendid plant, and while it is the paper of the San 
Joaquin Valley it is ranked also as one of the foremost journals in the state. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 151 

OTHER NEWSPAPERS 

Fresno has been a veritable newspaper graveyard. The list of dead ones 
is a formidable one. The Republican is the one conspicuous success and the 
survivor of all. W. S. Moore of Franklin, Ky., began in March, 1883, the 
publication of the weekly Democrat, issued as a daily in 1886, discontinued 
and revived in November, 1887, as the Weekly Inquirer issued in March, 
1889, consolidated in February, 1891, with the three-year-old weekly Budget 
as the weekly Central Californian in espousal of the Farmer's Alliance cause. 

Another daily, the Evening Democrat, was launched in 1898 in con- 
solidation in September, with the weekly Keystone and in August, 1899, 
with the weekly Watchman, prospered for a time but went by the board be- 
fore a decade closed over it with confessed liabilities of over $50,000. It 
was under four or five different managements afterward, including the Calk- 
ins Syndicate in the defense cause of "the Higher Ups" in the San Fran- 
cisco graft prosecution, and finally became what is the Fresno Evening Her- 
ald of today. 

It is published by two enterprising young newspaper men from ]\Iich- 
igan, George A. Osborn and Chase S. Osborn Jr.. who have made a manful 
and successful struggle to live down the evil reputation of the paper by 
reason of its numerous proprietorship, policy and political changes and have 
established it on a firm and certain basis in its own home at Kern and L 
Streets. It is the second largest newspaper in the valley. Democratic strong- 
hold that Fresno was once, as a county, it has for years not had a party organ. 

Before the county lost the territory north of the San Joaquin River, 
there was the Madera IMercury in 1890 by E. E. Vincent, also John McClure's 
County Review, both weekhes then. Selma's Irrigator first issued in 1886 as 
a weekly and as a daily in 1888 by W. L. Chappell and W. T. Lyon is still 
in existence as a semi-weekly under J. J. Vanderburgh. The Enterprise dates 
from 1888. Sanger has a breezy little Herald that saw the light of day in 
May, 1889, under E. P. Dewey and does to this day. Reediey has the Ex- 
ponent started by A. S. Jones of Mandan, N. D., in March, 1891, and still 
publishing. Fowler in the Ensign, Kingsburg in the Recorder, Clovis in the 
Tribune. Kerman and Raisin City have their local publications. Coalinga 
has the Oil Record (Shaw Bros.) as the survivor of a batch of ventures that 
marked the oil development period. Fresno has a freelance in R. M. Mappes' 
Sunday Mirror that has passed the fortieth semi-annual volume mile-stone. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

County Seat Removal in 1874. Big Defalcation is Discovered 
IN the Treasury. "Fresno Station" is Staked Out in May, 
1872, in a Most Forlorn Spot on the Plains. Millerton 
Deserted as Rats Leave a Sinking Ship. First Railroad 
t Passenger Train Schedule of 1873. Departure From 
Original Plan in Laying Out the New Town. Court- 
house Corner Stone Laying a General Festival Day. 
Fresno Takes on City Ways. Visit of First Circus to 
County in 1874. 1895 Fire in the Enlarged Courthouse. 
Throbbing with sensations and promises of great changes in the future 
for the Millertonian, was the year 1874. The new railroad town — in embryo 
— first called "Fresno Station," won hands down at the county seat removal 
special election. Historic Millerton, the mining village, was officially aban- 
doned by September 25 for the first meeting of the supervisors in 
the new county seat on October 5. General dismantling of houses for the 



152 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

lumber and timbers kept the villagers busy while bewailing fate. The senti- 
ment to abandon the place was almost unanimous. Its desertion has been 
likened unto that of rats leaving a sinking ship. Contemporaneous with the 
petition for seat removal election was the discovery of a defalcation in the 
treasurer's office, the largest in the history of the county, followed by a 
smaller one in the office of the district attorney, S. B. Allison for $882.41, less 
$250 due for the closing quarter of the j^ear. 

"Fresno Station" had been surveyed and staked out in May, 1872, as 
a tovvnsite on the barren sand plain in lots 50x150 with intersecting alleys 
between streets by the Contract and Finance Company, a subsidiary of the 
Central Pacific Railroad building the Southern Pacific line. The latter 
had not yet reached the site in the sink of Dry Creek. Water was no nearer 
than the San Joaquin, ten miles away, no settlement of any kind, not a shack. 
Nothing there but a vast prospect. It w.as a most forlorn looking spot. 
None but an optimist would ever be tempted to locate there. 

The old-timer relates that there was not a drop of water to be had on 
the journey from the settlements on the Kings to Millerton — from river to 
river — and of course none plainwards towards the new town which was 
not on the traveled way : that not a human habitation was passed en route ; 
so desolate was the plain that one could journey twenty miles or more in 
any direction without so much as finding a brush large enough to cut a 
horse switch ; and so level and unobstructed that long in after years on a 
bright day the courthouse dome could be discerned by the wagon traveller 
as far as Centerville, fifteen to twenty miles away. 

By September, 1872, a postoffice was established at Fresno with Rus- 
sell H. Fleming, the stagedriver and liveryman as postmaster. Before that 
the mail was brought sixteen miles. By November, there were four hotels 
and eating houses, three saloons and as many livery stables and two stores, 
besides one or two living shacks, the railroad employes living in tents. By 
July, 1874, there were fifty-five buildings in the town — twenty-nine business 
and twenty-six dwelling houses. There were optimists in the land. 

The petition for the seat removal election was presented February 12, 
1874, signed as required by a number equal to one-third of the qualified 
electors at the last previously held election. The supervisors had no dis- 
cretion on such a request in legal form and granting it set the election for 
March 23. Millerton's doom w^as pronounced on that Monday. Three days 
after the Expositor exultingly flared out with the following scarehead an- 
nouncement : 

THE COUNTY SEAT ELECTION! 



FRESNO AMXS TTTF A'ICTORY 




OLD FOGYISIM PLAYED OUT 



OUR COUNTY HAS IMPROVED HER 
OPPORTUNITY 



HER FREEMEN SPEAK 



THORN ELECTED TREASl'RER 



A DAILY MAIL. TELEGRAPHIC AND 
RAILROAD COMMUNICATION 



VOTE OF THE PRECINCTS AS FAR 
AS RECEIVED 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 153 

The vote was : 

Fresno 417 

Lisbon 124 

Centerville ; 123 

Millerton 93 

Total 757 

Out of sixty-six votes cast at Millerton precinct, thirty-nine were for 
Fresno. Fresno cast 112 in all, 111 for herself, Centerville 101 for herself and 
the largest other precinct vote was Kingston's sixty for Fresno. It was the 
participation in the election of the railroad hands that carried the day. The sec- 
tion boss was kept busy hustling voters to the polling place, and as an induce- 
ment to vote for Fresno tradition has it that whiskey was carried in bucket 
and ladled out in tin cup. But the Expositor's "freemen" dealt the solar plexus 
blow and the "old fogyism played out." 

It is not to say that the site contestants oflfered at the time accommoda- 
tions or inducements superior to or even equal to those at Millerton, save 
Fresno in location on the railroad and central as to the count}', and in mag- 
nificent prospects — in the hazy future. There had been more site offers but 
with withdrawals before election day the contest was reduced to four. 

Alfred F>aird had offered forty acres of his Poverty Rancho, town blocks 
to be each one acre and stipulating among other things to reserve two blocks 
for a gravej'ard. Chairman Henry C. Daulton of the supervisors had ofifered 
1,000 acres of his farm, if gift of land was the consideration in selecting town 
location. Fresno City citizens published notice that they "will run this place 
for the countv seat," and "ample ground will be donated for all public build- 
ings." A "place" to be called "Lisbon" in S. 22. T. 12 S., R. 21 E., with thirty 
acres donated to the county, was also "run," and Centerville ofifered "all 
necessary lots for county buildings" over the announcement of Mrs. Paulina 
Caldwell. One argument advanced was that, if removal be had, it should be 
to a locality which would "never need moving again," an impression prevail- 
ing that the county would be divided by the next legislature and that the 
northern boundary of the southern county would be the San Joaquin. That 
division came, but nineteen years later. 

DEFALCATION IN COUNTY TREASURY 

W. W. Hill, who succeeded the unfortunate Caster as treasurer and 
himself filled the office for so many years, died on February 3, 1874. The 
safe being opened, there was found $27,497.25 cash, when there should have 
been over $80,000. A statement at the time was that "notes held against 
private persons will probably make good this deficit." The supervisors ap- 
pointed N. L. Bachman treasurer and increased the official bond from $60,- 
000 to $100,000. At the special election A. J- Thorn was elected treasurer 
for the unexpired term. In April Mrs. Paulina Hill for the estate was given 
credit for $3,257.27 on account of redeemed warrants, still leaving $56,313.20 
as a deficit. The bondsmen were sued, and, while after the appeal had gone 
against them and they asked in vain for more time to pay the judgment, 
little was ever recovered. The district court judgment against the sureties 
was for $31,313.20 with ten per cent interest from March 4, 1874. 

The Hill and Caster defalcations have one feature in common in the 
general belief that neither was beneficiary from the money shortages, but 
both were the victims of misplaced confidence. The Hill affair was another 
evidence of the "loose, devil-me-care style" in which the public's business 
was conducted. The general belief was that FTill had loaned out the money 
on notes to importuning friends, who ignored or delayed meeting their 
obligations. In these days the cash in the treasury is counted and verified 



154 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

monthly by law designated officials ; in those days it was done at long 
intervals, quarterly or semi-annually. And it is a tradition of the times that 
when cash counting time approached the money needed to correspond with 
the auditor's vouchers, if not on hand, was expressed in as an accommoda- 
tion and reshipped before the ink was dry on the report of the count. It 
was not the counters' inquiry to "go behind the returns," so to speak. For 
them it was enough that the cash presented to view corresponded with the 
total called for, it mattered not whose money it was in fact. 

Two months after the staking out of the new townsite, the supervisors 
were appealed to for wagon roads to "Fresno Station" from Centerville and 
Dry Creek in anticipation of early railroad connection. In fact the first 
passenger train service was not operated until Sunday May 4, 1873. accord- 
ing to the following meager schedule from Fresno : 

Northbound 

2:10 A. !M. — Daily except Sundays to Merced, Lathrop, San Francisco, 
Stockton, Sacramento and East. 
4:50 A. M. — Sundays only. 

Southbound 

2:10 A. M. — Daily except Sundavs to Goshen, Tulare and Tipton. 
9:45 P. M.— Sundays only. 

Previous to the above and on December 2, 1872, a tentative schedule was 
in efifect as follows : 

Northbound 

Local Passenger Train to Alerced, Lathrop, San Francisco, Stockton and 
Sacramento: 4:30 A. M. 

Freight Train to Merced and Lathrop: 6:35 A. M. 

Southbound 

Local Passenger Train for Goshen, Tulare and Tipton: 2:10 A. M. 
All above trains excepted on Sundays. 

Even this was a vast improvement on the old stage coach routings. 

The vote on seat removal was too decisive, so there was naught to do 
but "pull up stakes." In April, 1874, proposals were invited in San Fran- 
cisco and Sacramento for courthouse plans. Those of A. A. Bennett of 
Sacramento were accepted and visit was made to Fresno to locate on Blocks 
105 and 106, the proposed building to face Mariposa Street and the depot. 
Before contract award on May 14, Merced was visited to view the courthouse 
there, which was and is a $55,970 duplicate of the one erected originally for 
Fresno by the same company, the California Bridge and Building Company, 
Alfred W. Burrell president. The Fresno award for $56,370 was $1,105 less 
than the next lowest of four bids and $2,530 lower than the highest. For 
change of county seat and necessary expenses a bond issue of $60,000 was 
authorized, one of the last acts of the supervisors at Millerton at its Septem- 
ber, 1874, session. A. M. Clark as county clerk moved the county's archives 
and property, and until the courthouse completion housed the public offices 
and jail in a 24x80 temporary structure on the Tulare Street side of the 
courthouse reservation, the building sold in September, 1875, to A. J. Thorn 
for $146 at public auction. 

The Millerton orders were for removal by October, 1874, according to 
a resolution passed on Admission Day. The last transfer was on Saturday, 
the third of that month, of the county hospital inmates at Millerton in stages 
of Fleming under supervision of Dr. Leach, he following with family and 
friends and completing the official exodus, with the exception of the jail 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 155 

incarcerated left in the care of Charles J. Garland of the Courthouse Ex- 
change Saloon. Subsequently a $400 offer was made for the old courthouse 
and spurned. The last assemblage in it was of thirty-three of the thirty-six 
shareholders of the Ne Plus Ultra Mining Company, with H. C. Daulton as 
president. It formally voted to move to Fresno and reelected Daulton presi- 
dent. Dr. Leach treasurer and Judge Winched secretary, completing trans- 
fer of the last organization having birth and headquarters at old Millerton. 

Fresno's townsite occupied a spot unfrequented save by roaming wild 
cattle, mustang horses, antelope, elk and coyotes. The original town plan of 
the C. and F. Company was signally departed from in the end because of 
a notion that provokes a smile at this day. It planned that Fresno Street 
as the only eighty-foot wide business thoroughfare in the city should be 
the main artery through town, obstructed though it was at that time in the 
center by a partially covered ditch from M. J. Church's Champion flour mill 
at N and Fresno, carrying off westward to the plains the surplus water from 
the mill race supplied from Fancher Creek. With this plan in view, grant 
was made for courthouse site of Blocks A, B, C and D bounded by Merced, 
Mariposa, N and P as the first recorded town plat of December 12, 1873, 
shows, with courthouse facing Fresno Street. 

But nearly all first private improvements and business locations grouped 
on H Street, facing the projected depot, crossing or slowly groping their 
way into Mariposa Street. The cry was that the four blocks "were too far 
out of town," and so a compromise arrangement was made by which the 
C. and F. Company deeded for county public purposes Blocks 94, 95, 105 
and 106 as platted June 8, 1876, the present location. Mariposa Street became 
the retail center street, though thoroughfare is blocked at H Street west- 
ward by the railroad reservation and passenger depot, and eastward at K 
by the courthouse reservation. One of the original four blocks at Fresno and 
N, opposite the mill, was taken as a schoolhouse site, now the Hawthorne. 
It is in fact only one block removed from the exchanged site, being the 
block Fresno, Merced, N and O. Thus a pretty sentimental idea was knocked 
on the head to have wide Fresno Street as the main business boulevard of 
Fresno City in Fresno County. 

COURTHOUSE CORNERSTONE LAYING 

At the first supervisors' meeting at Fresno, the tax rate was fixed at 
64.9 for state and 83.1 cents for county purposes — total $1.48. Contractor 
Burrell for material and labor was given bonds for $9,900 gold value, hav- 
ing agreed to accept them at ninety-nine cents on the dollar, and the offer 
of J. M. Shannon for $1, "for any length of time," was accepted of a room 
in his building on H Street, near Tulare, for court purposes. Courthouse 
cornerstone was laid on Thursday afternoon October 8, 1874, and building 
reported completed for acceptance August 19, 1875. Cornerstone day was 
a festival occasion in the new town. According to the Expositor, never be- 
fore had the county "known such a large and fashionable assemblage," com- 
ing from Merced, Modesto, Lathrop, Stockton, Visalia and all portions of 
the county. 

The day was pleasant, the heavens overcast with clouds preventing the 
scorching rays of the sun from pouring down, and a li.ght rain sprinkle at 
noon purifying the atmosphere and rendering it refreshing. The Masonic 
fraternity had charge of the ceremonies with Isaac S. Titus, M. W. G. M., 
attending and Merced lodges, Free and Accepted Masons, and Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows participating with the county officials and citizens in 
the parade headed by Woodman's brass band from Stockton. The choir at 
the stone laying comprised : Mesdames W. W. PhilHps, who was also the 
organist, J. C. Hoxie and William Lambert and Messrs. William Faymon- 
ville, A. W. Burrell and S. W. Geis of Merced. District Attorney C. G. 



156 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Sayle for the supervisors invited the grand lodge to lay the stone for an 
edifice which when completed, he said, "is expected to stand the heats of 
summer and the storms of winter for a period of 1,000 years or more." The 
Masonic ritual was proceeded with, and at the close Judge E. C. Winchell 
delivered the prepared oration of District Judge A. C. Bradford, who being 
in the East could not return in time to fill the engagement. In the casket 
were deposited nineteen miscellaneous contribution parcels, mainly docu- 
ments and newspapers, besides a twenty-dollar gold piece of 1874 by A. W. 
Burrell, by the supervisors eleven pieces of coin of the realm, nineteen dol- 
lars and sixteen cents in all from a ten-dollar gold piece to a copper cent, and 
as historical documents contributed by Justice of the Peace W. T. Rumble 
and Dr. Leach notes of the first twenty years of the San Joaquin Valley 
with a copy of the Fort Barbour treaty of peace of 1851 with the Indians, and 
a copy of the 1851 muster roll of the Mariposa Battalion of Major James D. 
Savage. A bible contributed by Dr. Leach was a notable presentation, 
because according to the tradition it was the only one in town available for 
immuring. 

That night Magnolia hall was filled to repletion at a ball with over 150 
couples attending, the dance continuing until about one thirty in the morn- 
ing when the INIerced excursion car came to bear away the guests and the 
music and close the festivities. The supervisors had appropriated $200 for 
the day, and of the $326 ball receipts a balance of sixty-six dollars was do- 
nated to the city school fund. Tickets to the ball were three dollars. 

The walls of the building that was erected stand today in the present 
courthouse after the addition of the wings and other changes. Building was 
sixty by ninety-five, three stories high, surmounted by a cupola topped by 
a plaster figure of Minerva. It was brick with granite trimmings, covered 
with cement. Plaster figures of Justice ornamented front and side window 
arches. The building was fifty-seven feet high above the grade and 112 to 
the top of the cupola figure. In the basement was a six-cell jail and all in 
all it was ornamental in exterior. Eight hundred thousand bricks entered 
into the construction. Designer Bennett planned other public buildings for 
the valley counties, and the company of Oakland erected them according 
to stock designs. Windmill and tank were erected and well sunk near the 
northwest corner, grounds graded by J. B. Stephens, parked and planted 
by A. J. Witthouse and fenced in by L. D. Fowler later, a special act of 
the legislature authorizing the expenditure of $20,000 for various public 
improvements. 

The enlarged and winged courthouse building caught fire on the night 
of July 29, 1895, in the copper sheeted dome, the glare lighting up the city. 
The flames were so high up that the fire apparatus could not reach them. 
The dome was 223 feet from the ground and "a veritable forest of timbers," 
built two years before. A strong north wind blew and dome finally collapsed 
upon the south wing, carrying down tons of burned timbers. There was 
general wreckage on the second and third floors of the central structure of 
1874 and in the south wing, entailing a loss of over $75,000. It was a spec- 
tacular fire. But this is anticipatory. 

Fresno was cityfying at the dedication period. All the vagrant cows 
were taken up under the trespass act. General appeal was made to clean up 
premises. The press of advertisements was so heavy that the Expositor had 
in one issue to leave out two columns of "live ads." New buildings were 
going up. The hope was expressed that the hotels would be enlarged be- 
cause beds were not to be had on cornerstone day or the night before. "The 
Grandest Organization that Ever Crossed the Continent, Montgomery 
Queen's Gigantic Menagerie, Circus and World's Fair," the first circus that 
ever struck the county with two shows given at Borden on the Saturday be- 
fore, exhibited on Monday October 19, 1874, at Fresno, and in its next 
Wednesday issue the "county official paper" recorded that besides nine in- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 157 

fants baptized at the Dry Creek church the Sunday before, "nearly a dozen 
fights" had occurred in town since that Sunday — circus, court week and too 
much whiskey producing the result — and confessing that "we can go without 
food and clothing on a pinch but we will see every exhibition of horse opera," 
and that "the circus attracted all alike 'colored and plain,' " and the Indians 
from the foothills. 

CHAPTER XXVII 

Industrial Periods in State and County. Lumbering Was 
Conspicuous in Fresno From Early Times. It Had Its Pic- 
turesque Side. Habitations Were Then Mere Makeshifts. 
First Handworked "Sawmill" Was at Fort Miller. Hulse 
as the Historian's Overlooked Pioneer of Millmen. Pine 
Ridge the Busy Mountain Scene of Mill Activities for 
Years. Industry is the Basis for a Frenzied Craze in 1890. 
Directory of First "Bullwhackers" and Sawmill Men. 
Corporate Pluming Operations. Small Enterprises Are 
Crowded Out of the Field by Them. . 

According to Historian Bancroft, the state's industrial periods have been 
the age of grass, the age of gold, the age of grain and the age of fruit. He 
comments thereon to say that the golden age was neither the age of gold, 
nor the pastoral age of grass, but the age of fruit, meaning thereby the real, 
positive, lasting and substantial economic wealth basis. Fresno County has 
also passed through four stages of industrial development. 

Its birth was during the mining period, which while it cannot be con- 
fined to hard and fast lines of demarcation any more than can the others, 
lasted until about 1860-64. It was followed by the stock raising period (cat- 
tle and sheep), growing out of the gradual decadence of placer mining and 
lasting until about 1874. though sheep raising continued for years later. 
Third, the springing up of farming about 1868, more especially in the growing 
of grain, or "dry farming" as it was called. Before the advent of the railroad 
in 1870, agriculture may be said to have been in the experimental stage. 
Fourth, and assuming importance in the early 80's, the viticultural and horti- 
cultural period, with the introduction of irrigation. 

These last have become the leading and distinctive industrial features 
of the county, and as California holds first place among the states for irri- 
gation, so is the county the leader in the state, having more than double 
the acreage under irrigation than has any other in California. The develop- 
ment periods followed one another by slow and gradual processes, at the time 
almost imperceptible, so easy the merging of one period into another. The 
above general division omits one early and large industry, conspicuous for 
its scope even during the mining era and before the passing of that pic- 
turesque period. The lumber industry had its picturesque side in the men 
that "toyed with the lash and goad long before Fresno City was built," or 
even dreamed of; that hauled lumber, shakes, posts and shingles with mule 
and ox out of the mountains over the roughest of roads through the uncut 
timber and underbrush, descending trails so precipitous that great trees were 
tied on behind the wagon or truck as safety drags in the passage of narrow 
ravines or washed out creek beds. 

In earlv days most of the lumber was hauled to the mining camps on the 
San Joaquin, or to the Upper Kings settlements above Centerville. Later and 
after the war, the Alabama Settlement at Borden, down about Gravelly Ford 
on the Sycamore bend, called for teaming. By this time not a few mills were 
running at full capacity as Ball & Rimmell on Pine Ridge at Corlew Meadow. 



158 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the first and for a time only steam mill in the county. C. P. Converse, then 
in prosperity, ran one with water power at Crane Valley, associated later 
with George McCullough and Thomas Winkelman on the north fork of the 
San Joaquin. John Dwyer hauled from the nearby and then untouched moun- 
tains the logs from which the lumber was cut for Fort Miller, or rather the 
blockhouse. An ordinary cross-cut saw was used. In the work with him were 
engaged Peter Fink, George Newton and Clark Hoxie. This was the first 
sawmill in the county, the forerunner of all on the north sides of the San 
Joaquin and the Kings, and on Pine Ridge crest between the rivers. Joseph 
Elliot, George Green, Abe Yancey and Bill May were the first "bullwhackers" 
working for Alex Ball as far back as 1854 and making their starts in life. 

The acknowledged historian of the Pine Ridge lumber region is R. W. 
Riggs, who being also a photographer, has spent many a season in the mill 
and lumber camps. Few, save the very earliest, that he did not know per- 
sonally. He gave his efforts for three years to gather "from the earth's four 
corners" 361 pictures of teamsters alone, classifying them in four groups : 
(1) the earlv ones before 1875, (2) the Glass and Donahoo, Lane & Frazier 
and Smyth & McCardle men and (3) those of 1888 to 1900. The collection was 
short some 100 pictures. 

In the first classification may be named the following: 

Abe Yancey, Dan Bruce, Andrew Farley, Peter Fink, V. F. ]\Ioore, Bill 
Wyatt, Ed. Burnett, Tom Bates, Steve Boutwell, Cub Jacks. Ransome Mc- 
Capes, Jim Mitchell, Fred Winkelman, Pack Quails, Joe Medley, Alfred 
Haecker, Joe Carter, Bill May, Mark Chapman, Ellis Pitman, Charles Beard, 
Joe Hutciiins, Jim Wyatt, Cy Dean, Billy Anderson, Mark Gentry, Dave 
Watson, Bill Holmes, John Moore, Gassy Rodgers, Joe Taylor, Dan Clark, 
Charles Williams. Dan INIiller, Lije and Jim Perry. 

The earliest habitations, if such they can be designated, were of canvas, 
old sacking and the interlaced branches of small trees, sides, ends and roof 
of the same material. Not a few lived in wagons, utilizing in favored places 
rocky boulders as walls. Cooking was done principally at open camp fires. 
The Dutch oven was an important culinary utensil, and many an appetiz- 
ing "flap-jack" was browned on a shovel. A cast-iron stove was a curiosity, 
flour a luxury at fifty cents a pound, beans or rice seventy-five cents, sugar, 
bacon or dried fruit cheap at a dollar, and tea and cofifee reasonably so at 
two dollars. And there was no hue and cry about the high cost of living, 
either. 

The first Pine Ridge sawmill man was in 1852, James Hulse, who two 
years later sold to Alexander Ball. He moved mill farther back into the 
forest at the upper end of Corlew Meadow. Historians have to a man with- 
held credit from Hulse, accorded it to Ball and referred to the surrounding 
country as "Ball Mill Eleadow." Ball was "a rough and ready and good 
natured man, a hard worker by day and an ardent poker player by night" 
— $7,000 of debts with burning of mill landing him a bankrupt early in his 
career. 

After this for a time, the lumber supply source was Crane Valley on 
the other side of the San Joaquin, where Converse and George Sharpton lo- 
cated a mill in 1860, and George McCullough, who built the first house in 
Fresno, Jeff Dunlap and one Brown had another, both run by water power. 
About 1866 John Humphrey imported a mill from Mariposa, and Moses Mock 
buying the McCullough water mill, the consolidated Clipper was moved up 
Pine Ridge, below Kenyon's or Armstrong's, and eight years later became the 
property of Donahoo & Glass. C. D. Davis. ]\Iilton Jacks and James J. Phil- 
lips formed a partnership, built the then largest and finest mill at ^loore's 
Flat and not inappropriately called it the Lightning Striker, for it was reduced 
to ashes that same year and another replaced it. 

In 1875 Henry Glass bought the Flintlock from Humphrey & Mock 
and moved the Clipper farther into the woods at Hoxie's Flat, taking in 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 159 

next year as a partner Jeff Donahoo, who had been his foreman the season 
before. After Glass' death, Humphrey took up the Glass interest and Dona- 
hoo & Humphrey sold in 1887 to Wil'liam Ockenden. In 1879 Alonzo Little- 
field dammed creek on his timber claim, and by a series of wooden wheels 
and cogs turned out brake blocks and later erected a more elaborate mill, 
operated as a one man concern. Cv Ruth of Big Sandy built the Paiute mill 
on Rush Creek in 1880 at the base of Old Baldy, but sold out to C. M. Ben- 
nett, who had a planing mill at Tollhouse and who continued the Paiute 
for twenty-five years at various locations, the last one quarter of a mile 
below the Ball mill site at Corlew, destroyed by fire in 1905. 

William Foster and August Behring ran for a season the Phoenix on 
Riley Anderson's claim with James Fanning and L. B. Frazier as lessees for 
the second. On Behring's death, Adolph Lane and Frazier bought the mill 
and moved it down near the old Flintlock site at the present Pine Ridge 
postoffice. Here was made the first experiment on the coast with horses in 
logging. The firm dissolved in 1885 and the mill was burned in storage. 
]\Ioses Alock reentered the field on Rush Creek. John Smyth, sawyer for 
Donahoo & Humphrey, and James McCardle bought him out and theirs 
was for a time the largest mill on the Ridge until the one at Shaver. 

The Lane-J. J. Alusick copartnership lasted several years until the 
withdrawal of the first named. The Musicks owned several sections of the 
finest timber land. In 1886 A. C. Grossman, who was city engineer of 
Fresno, leased the mill but before three months assigned to AA'illiam Black 
and John Nelson of Tollhouse, who ran it for the first season. Upon the 
death of Musick, the sons, Henry and Charles, carried on the business 
until fire in 1893 led up to merger with the Fresno Flume and Irrigation 
Company, the "irrigation" part of the name inserted to facilitate rights of 
way for the flume for supposed irrigation. In 1887 or 1888 W. S. Bouton 
and W. M. Ewing built a box factory on the Dinkey road beyond Ocken- 
den, first enterprise of its kind on the Ridge. Fire destroyed it. \\'illiam 
Ockenden, who for a decade had conducted hotel and general store at Dona- 
hoo & Humphrey's mill yard, bought the mill at this time with Henry Ham- 
ilton and Frank Peabody, and after a season moved it down hill, with a 
road leading out from Kenyon's. That summer welcomed back John Hum- 
phrey with a mill on the Swanson lands and with Swanson as a partner. 
On the latter's death Richard Beall and Joseph Paddock bought the dead 
man's interest. The mill went up in fire. 

In 1890 and for six years there was a veritable craze for sawmill owner- 
ship — "frenzied finance" on a small scale to swallow up many a modest 
competency. As was said, it "looked as though whoever had a tin can, a 
buzz saw and six bits started a sawdust factory," and "when the can blew 
up, the saw became bent or the hands wanted their pay. the concern shut 
up shop or the creditors took it and ran it on the dividends that didn't 
divide." But what need to follow the many, frequent and bewildering 
changes? In early days what later was known as Kenyon's was Behring's, 
afterward Pine Ridge or Armstrong's: in 1881 it was Donahoo's mill, later 
and now it is Ockenden. The locations of early mills would be difficult to 
trace with names as the only guide. 

It was in 1892 that the F. F. & I. Company commenced damming of 
Stephenson Greek to create Shaver Lake, and to build the flume to Clovis, 
and the next year it was in operation, cutting more timber and bringing 
out more lumber seasonally than all mills combined, with possible exception 
of the Herman Peterson mill ritn by a stock company and formerly the 
Smyth & McCardle mill. The Fresno railroaded logs from the forest. 

The Pine Ridge sawmill men come under two general classifications. 
In the first are these: 

From 1852 to 1892 following as near as can be learned the order of 
their entering the business — James Hulse, Alex Ball, John Humphrey, Moses 



160 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Mock, C. D. Davis, J. J. Phillips, Milton Jacks, Henry Glass, M. J. Donahoo, 
Cy Ruth, C. M. Bennett, William Foster, Gus Behring, Alonzo Littlefield, 
Joseph Bretz, James Fanning, L. B. Frazier, Adolph Lane, J. J. Musick, W. 
S. Bouton, W. M. Ewing, John Smyth, J. McCardle, H. Peterson, Wm. 
Ockenden, Andrew Swanson, Joseph Paddock, Richard Beall, A. C. Cross- 
man, John Nelson, W. Block, C. Ciimmings, Henry and Charles Musick, 
Warren Brown, Jerome Bancroft, Winn Lichfield, Frank Peabody, Henry 
Hamilton, William Kip, James Kerns and John Sage — forty-two. 

From 1892 to 1907— A. T. Moore, Theodore de Marias, W. H. Hollen- 
beck, E. E. Bush, Martin Fahey, Al ]\IcMurdough, Bert. Moore, C. B. 
Shaver for the Fresno Flume and Irrigation Company, later changing the 
name by substituting the word "Lumber" for "Irrigation," M. W. Madary, 
W. W. Wilson, Frank, George and James Landale, Conn Short, C. G. 
Sayles, S. Lehman, E. C. ^A'inchell, Lew Roland, Elmer Damon, Frank 
Bacon, J. F. Rouch, Weaker Pixicy, W. H. Walsh, J. C. Huston, C. C. Cor- 
lew, W. H. Barnes, William :\Ickinzie, A. W. Petrea, Daniel and Forest 
Dake, B. Payne, Marshall Cardwell, J. F. and L. Shafer, S. J. Finley, Ed- 
ward and George Chambers, Ray and John Humphrey Jr., Reuben Morgan, 
T. J. Ockenden, E. J. Van Vlette, Roy "and Arthur Bennett and John Beguhl 
— forty-five ; total eighty-seven. 

Great have been the modus operandi changes since the early efiforts 
by individual partnerships. Today a lumber enterprise can be only under- 
taken by associated capital, so costly is the initiative outlay. The 1874 
California Lumber Company laid out in 1876 the town of Madera and there 
terminated its flume on the gift of W. S. Chapman and Isaac Friedlander 
who owned the land site and nearly all the adjacent territory. It became the 
Madera Flume and Trading Company of 1878 with its two mills, fifty-two 
miles east of Madera, on the headwaters of the Fresno and on the north 
fork of the San Joaquin. They are connected with the town yards by a 
thirty-inch V flume constructed in 1876 at a reported cost of $460,000, vvith 
a daily transportation capacity of 50,000 to 75,000 feet. It was the longest 
flume in the world. Mills had an annual capacity of 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 
feet of yellow and sugar pine and fir. The original Soquel mill has moved 
location innumerable times. The two mills had a daily productive capacity 
of 130,000 feet of lumber. In 1881 the companv made a 'cut of over 11,000,000 
feet. 

Sanger of 1888, fifteen miles from Fresno, is the flume terminal of the 
original Kings River Lumber Company of A. D. Moore and H. C. Smith, 
with timber interests and two mills on the head waters of the Kings and 
mill at Millwood, sixty-five miles from Fresno. Running ten hours a day, 
they had a capacity of about 3,000,000 feet a month. Its flume with a 
daily capacity of 250,000 feet was sixty miles long with laterals. Mills 
and property passed into the hands by purchase of the Hume-Bennett Lum- 
ber Company of Michigan capitalists, who moved the plant across a moun- 
tain ridge, greatly improved and enlarged it and founded the settlement at 
Hume on Ten-Mile Creek, a lumber mill mountain communitv, seventv-five 
miles away in the Sierras. Its annual approximate output is 35,000.000 feet. 
Its_ flume is the longest in the world. The company filed amended articles 
of incorporation in February, 1917, with name changed to the Sanger Lum- 
ber Company. 

The lumber mill town of Clovis, eleven miles from Fresno, is the ter- 
minal of the forty-five-mile flume of the Fresno Flume & Lumber Company 
at Shaver, where it operates a tow steamer on the lake in the Sierras and 
a twelve-mile mountain logging railroad. ]\Iill capacity is 35,000,000 feet 
yearly and flume capacity 200.000 daily. The Shaver-Swi'ft interests sold the 
property a few years ago to ^lichigan capitalists through Ira Bennett. 

These large enterprises introduced two new features — the sinuous flume 
traversing mountain, valley and dale, ravine, gulch and stream like a huge 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 161 

serpent for the floating of the cut kmilier to the mill ; and the damming of 
creeks to conserve the water in artificial lakes for the reception of the logs, 
where practical, and to furnish water for the flume to be used for irrigation 
after it has served the transportation purpose. Ten-Mile Creek feeds Hume 
Lake, Stephenson and other rivulets form Shaver Lake, and at Millwood 
at the edge of General Grant Park is Sequoia Lake. These sheets of 
water are stocked and are popular trout fishing grounds. Eastern visiting 
journalists have made much in their write ups of the mountains of the hair- 
raising flume journeys in a trough shaped shell, a sensation compared with 
which the descent on a scenic railway is as slow running as molasses in 
December. 

Lumber making was next to agriculture and mining a leading industry, 
and the annual output, up to the time after 1890 when the business was con- 
centrated in the hands of a few of the larger companies, now reduced to 
two. of the leading mills was: Ockenden'" 1,200,000, Smyth & IMcCardle 
1,000,000, Stephenson 1,200,000, Musick 3,000,000, Humphrey 4,000,000, 
North Fork Lumber Company 2,000.000, Kings River Lumber Company 
30,000,000, and the Comstock mill atiove Camp Badger at the edge of Tulare 
County across the line with timber region about Mill Creek in Fresno, about 
3,000,000. The flume solved the question of freight teaming and the lack 
of railroad transportation from the foothills and crowded the smaller con- 
cerns out of the field. 

The horse and mule killing Tollhouse grade was sold in 1878 to the 
county for $5,000. In July, 1892, A. AT. Clark, George L. Hoxie and others 
incorporated the Fresno and Pine Ridge Toll Road Company and furnished 
a much easier graded mountain road, which in December. 1896, was sold 
to the county for $7,500. Both roads became free and opened the mountains 
to the public. 

The county's annual lumber output ranges from 60,000,000 to 75,000,000 
feet, including 5,000.000 in shakes, shingles and box and tray material, 
representing a value of from one and one-half to two millions or more — 
almost ten percent, of the state's lumber production, a material addition, but 
at the sorry expense of denuding the forest shaded slopes of the Sierra 
Nevadas. 

CHAPTER XXVIII 

Pastoral Period Naturally Succeeds Placer Mining in 1864. 
Stockraising Becomes the Dominant Industry. Dairying 
is Practically Neglected. Early Stock Was of Inferior 
Breeds. Unlimited Was the Range. The "No Fence" Law 
Proved the Turning Point to Favor Agriculture. It 
Tolled the Requiem of the Stock Business. The "Sand- 
lapper" Comes to the Fore. Tribulations of Cattle and 
Sheep Men. Wool Raising an Important Consideration. 
Prominent Stockmen Listed. They Discovered the Sier- 
ra's Scenic Wonders in the Quest for Pasture. 

It was natural that with the passing of placer mining in 1864, except 
for sporadic and speculative efforts, the people of the county should turn 
next to stockraising and make it the dominant industry. Every condition 
favored it. There was the suggestive precedent of the mission fathers and 
of the Spanish and Mexican eras, when herds counting up in the thousands 
were slaughtered for beef, or for the tallow and hides as the territory's sole 
export. There was a limitless open range on the plains. Climatic conditions 
the year around were ideal. There was no need for herding. The owner 



162 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

concerned himself about the stock once a yea'r only at the spring rodeo for 
the counting and branding. 

A market was always to be found by simply driving the cattle there. 
The stockman waxed fat and was the monarch of the plains and the grassy 
foothills. It was in one sense of the word an ideal existence, with nature an 
important member of the business copartnership. Cattle of every kind and 
age ran wild. They multiplied and in great herds grazed on the hills and 
roamed the valleys and plains as freely as deer. The industry in Fresno 
County was at its height in 1870. The early Californians introduced their 
cattle from Spain and iMexico: the Americans, the longhorns from Texas, 
driving the herds across the desert and the plains. To market, they were 
driven in the summer to the mining camps, or to San Francisco, following 
the river courses and foothill creeks for convenient camps and water en 
route. In this county the range was an immense one, extending from the 
Chowchilla to the Kings River and from the foothills of the Sierras to those 
of the Coast Range. 

In the 70's and the days before the introduction of superior stock had 
absorbed the original Spanish cattle, herds of these and mixed cattle yet 
ran wild, especially in the southern part of the state. These "resembled the 
wild beasts of the forest more than cows," it is said, and as herders and 
vaqueros were always mounted these beasts unaccustomed to seeing man 
afoot would encircle him and often furiously attack him. Cattle, as well as 
other live stock in California, ran at large, never were housed, and had no 
food other than that which nature spontaneously provided, and this was 
ample save in dry seasons. In periods when pasturage was scarce, or in 
summer when the plains were parched and feed lacking, bands in great 
number were driven into the mountains to the very summits to graze in 
the natural meadows on the succulent wild herbage and brush. 

Before the American occupation, little or no attention was paid to milk 
and butter. With irrigation and alfalfa growing, dairying became an indus- 
try which has grown wonderfully. Notwithstanding the genial climate, the 
open range and splendid pasturage, one-third of the butter used in California 
in the 70's was imported from the eastern states. The state produced about 
six million pounds of butter annualh' and one-third of this came from j\Iarin 
County, with 24,000 neat cattle out of about one million in the state. The 
largest dairy farm was the 75,000-acre ranch of the Shafter brothers in that 
county. JNIerced was credited with 60.000 neat cattle and only produced 
about 9,000 pounds of butter. Kern, Tulare, Colusa and San Diego were 
the next largest cattle counties. 

The state produced then annually 5.000,000 pounds of cheese, of which 
3,000,000 were credited to Santa Clara and Monterey Counties. Santa Clara 
with 22,000 cattle, 7,000 of them cows, made as much cheese as the entire 
state, the two counties excepted. It was solemnly asseverated in "The Gold- 
en \\'est" — a book on California — that in a part of the southern counties, 
where cattle were so numerous that they swarmed about telegraph poles to 
scratch themselves and rubbed down the eight-inch square masts for miles, 
one could not taste butter, nor cheese, nor milk in a journey of 200 miles! 

Fresno was one of the interior "cow counties." As late as 1890, when 
it was out of that classification, there were about 70,000 head of cattle in 
the county, and fully 1,000,000 sheep, wool being an important export item. 
This section is also favorable for the raising of horses and mules. The 
ranges became more limited, however, with the spread of farming from year 
to year, yet even today cattle raising is no small industry. Alfalfa cultiva- 
tion has made it more profitable, though on a reduced scale in scope, while 
giving dairying a great stimulus. The cattle, sheep and wool business repre- 
sented a million-dollar asset in 1890. Today it is a combined asset of more 
than $3,923,000 in value. In 1861, Spanish stock cattle were assessed at ten 
dollars per head, American stock at twelve dollars and twenty-five dollars 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 163 

was the valuation placed on the better above three-year-old. 

The "cattle barons" of Fresno had bands ranging- in number from 200 
to 3,000 and 4,000 and over. They contributed to their own undoing when 
farming and irrigation came on. Cattle were not herded as sheep are, but 
roamed at will over boundless areas. Every man marked his by a particular 
brand burned into the left hip, and these "irons" were as title deeds recorded 
and it was a felon}^ to obliterate or alter them. 

NO-FENCE LAW OBLIGATIONS 

In the San Joaquin A^alley generally in connection with the spread of 
orchards, vineyards and farms, and locally due to the agitation of the Ala- 
bama Settlement of grain growing colonists at Areola (Borden), the adop- 
tion of the "No Fence" law was the turning point in agricultural advance- 
ment and prosperity. P.cfore, the stockmen lorded it over all, and regarded 
it as an encroachment on their rights to sow a field of grain, and to that 
extent abridge their open pasture, or restrict their horizon between the foot- 
hills of the eastern and western ranges. The question at issue in the law was: 
which was the most desirable industry for the permanent settlement and 
development of the virgin land, the farmer or the stockman? 

The pastoral period brought the "sandlapper" to the fore. The deriva- 
tion of this term is obscure, but the appellation was one given in contempt 
and derision by the stock owners to a class that loaded all worldly goods 
on a wagon and with family drove out on the plains to take up a quarter 
section of government land out of the stockman's self-appropriated range. 
It was then yet a question whether the soil of the plains, away from water, 
could be successfully farmed without irrigation, but the "sandlapper," whose 
coming was almost contemporaneous with that of the railroad, was quite 
willing to assume the risk, with transportation to a seaboard market as an 
incentive. 

It cost, so it is said, $2,240 to fence a quarter section against the inroads 
of roaming herds. The "sandlapper" was in a large measure responsible 
for the "no fence" or "herding law," the agitation over which started about 
1870 and continued with much bitterness and personal animosities until the 
enactment in 1874. The stockmen came to a full realization of the new order 
of things, when a heroic remedy was employed in ranging up marauding 
cattle and shooting them. This enforced compliance with a law that at 
first was generally ignored by those whom it most directly afifected. 

The "no fence" law obligated the stock owner to herd his cattle and 
sheep, whereas before the stock roamed at will and was not assembled ex- 
cept for the annual rodeo. He was also made responsible for damage done 
by his beasts. The farmer was not required to fence his holding, though as 
a custom, "more honored in the breach than in the observance," he occa- 
sionally did so. In particular localities hedges served more as sheltering 
wind breaks than farm dividing lines. Senator Thomas Fowler, then a cattle 
king and for whom the village ten miles from Fresno was named, cham- 
pioned the opposition against the law in the legislature, and paid the penalty 
in defeat at the next election. The law requiring the stockman to herd on 
his own land tolled the requiem of the pastoral period in Fresno, and passed 
the land over to the husbandman, though the tillable area was so vast that 
years elapsed before the small farmer ceased to be the exception and be- 
came the rule. The stockman gradually retired from the field. Sheep re- 
placed cattle in thinly settled localities, but agriculture in time encroached 
even there upon them. 

In springtime the rodeo was held. The word is from the Spanish verb 
meaning to gather, to surround. It was a rounding up of the cattle to en- 
able the owners to select their own, count them and drive them ofif to their 
own pastures with the calves following the mother cows, and to brand the 



164 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

calves and mavericks. Rodeos were held at stated places and at pre-arranged 
times, succeeding one another until all cattle had been counted in a district, 
and the calves marked. At times 20,000 head of stock would be gathered on 
a plain for singling out. Clever feats of horsemanship and of lasso throw- 
ing marked the rodeo and with the trained character of the horses put to 
blush the exhibitions at Wild West shows. 

STOCK INDUSTRY ON THE WANE 

Cattle and sheepmen had other troubles. There were early losses by 
reason of floods in destruction of pasture. The drought of 1856 was too early 
to afifect the infant local industry. That of 1864 was disastrous, cattle and 
sheep starving by the thousands in the state. The one of 1870-71 was not 
productive of such general ruin. But in 1876-77 followed another as disas- 
trous as the one of 1864, with perishing herds and bands. An industry of 
the drought year of 1877 was the stripping of the carcasses of cattle for 
the hides and of sheep for the pelts. Since that year the stock business has 
never regained the importance that it once held as a general industry. Oak 
and other trees were felled for the animals to browse on the foliage and 
tender twigs. Bands of sheep numbering thousands were abandoned to die 
of starvation. Animals were killed for their pelts and in districts the air 
was polluted with the stench of thousands of corrupting carcasses and the 
sky blackened with attracted carrion birds. Bands of sheep were sold for a 
bit (twelve and one-half cents) a head, when ordinarily worth two dollars 
and three dollars, and thousands were killed and tried for the fat. The 
stockman's losses were very heavy, and in certain sections the industry 
never recovered, many abandoning it. With the continued encroachment of 
agriculture, the consequent cutting of the pastures and the advanced 
value of tillable land, the larger surviving stockmen took themselves off to 
Nevada and Arizona. As ineffectual was their opposition to the introduction 
of irrigation in the valley. 

Raising sheep for the wool was commenced in California in 1853 and 
the 1855 first exportation was 360,000 pounds. As showing the development 
of wool growing, the following figures are illustrative : 

Year. Pounds. \'alne. 

1857 1,100.000 $ 173,500 

1862 5,900,000 1,062,000 

1868 13,225,000 2,428,000 

1870 - 19,010,000 3,506,000 

1871 22,323,000 6,697,000 

Original stock was of poor quality, the remnants of old mission flocks 
and bands of inferior sheep brought into the state overland from New Mexico. 
As wool growing attracted attention, blooded stock was introduced. Still 
flocks of the old Mexican stock roamed the sandy plains of southern Califor- 
nia, described "as much like wolves as regards wool as like sheep." This 
class averaged a fleece of wool, sand and dirt as sheared of only two pounds, 
the inferior American sheep of four and improved breeds and Merino from 
six to eight, often as high as ten to fifteen pounds. In 1875 there were about 
2,500,000 sheep in the 'state, flocks of 3,000, 8,000, 10,000 and 20,000 being 
not uncommon. California was highest on the list of wool growing states. 
The first shipment of freight from Fresno City was wool that Frank Dusy 
loaded on the cars on the track before a freight depot had been built. 

Sheepmen underwent the same trials and tribulations as did the cattle- 
men. The great flocks have fallen ofT since 1870, when they numbered 4,152,- 
349, reduced in 1910 to 2,417,477, a decrease from the year preceding of 
1,734,872. 1880 was a banner year with 5,727.349. After the "no fence" law, 
sheep were herded where there was no farming, and at this day they are 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 165 

pastured principally on the uninhabited West Side plains to feed on the wild 
alfilaria, or driven by the shepherds to rented stubble land and vineyards in 
season to clean them ofif. 

Sheep had once, as the cattle have, the unlimited range of the mountains 
until the organization of the National Forest under the act of March, l'^07. 
Then followed a practical exclusion, except in restricted number and under 
regulations, the claim being that their cloven hoofs and their presence de- 
stro}' and spoil pasturage for cattle, the latter never feeding in pasture that 
has been ranged over by sheep. Before the above act, the areas were called 
Forest Reserves. Of course there is no restriction on land patented or deeded 
before the act, but the passage to and from these lands is under guard of the 
rangers. Sheep first began to go into the mountains for pasturage in 1877, 
a "dry year." In March, 1899, the supervisors through the legislature at the 
behest of the sheepmen memorialized Congress to open the forest for the 
grazing of stock to avert financial disaster to the industry that 3'ear because 
of the lack of rain and consequent lack of natural feed. 

Firebaugh, which is near the great Miller & Lux cattle ranch domain, 
was the shearing center for years, the aggregation of Basques. Portuguese, 
Mexicans, Italians and Indians giving it riotous life in season, but the sheep 
business does not longer measure up with its picturesque past. In its day 
shearing stations were at Alillerton, Centerville, Dry Creek and at Laton on 
the Laguna de Tache grant. 

The readily accessible western slopes of the Sierras have been pretty 
well gone over for the trees in the timber belt varying from twenty to forty 
miles in width. The sawmills surely left their impress, but as seriouslv main- 
tained and as stoutly disputed the sheepmen destroyed as much as ever did 
the mills in a year. The sheep were not corraled in the mountains, but to 
protect them at night from prowling wild beasts encircling bonfires were lit 
to keep them ofif. These fires being negligently left burning were spread bv 
the wind and at times covered wide areas. It has been asserted that the 
evidences of fires can be traced seventy-five miles into the mountains at the 
base of great sugar and yellow pines. 

The roll of Assessor Thomas W. Simpson for 1870. the year when the 
stock business was at its height, is interesting as showing the countv's wealth 
during the pastoral period. Total acreage was 1,3-14,078. Total valuations 
were $3,219,503 — land and improvements $1,575,761, personal propertv $1.- 
545,034; taxes on same $68,673— $27,832.49 state, $40,219.07 county and 
$532 on dogs. Common sheep were assessed at $1.50 a head and this was 
the general character of the stock in 1870. M. J. Church, "the Father of 
Irrigation," is assessed $1,950 for 1,300, Supervisor D. C. Dunagan $2,700 for 
1,8(X), William Helm $9,000 for 6,000, while Sheepman Gus Herminghaus is 
assessed $10,000 for 8,997 sheep and $9,100 for 5,800. 

Incidental showings are these : Judge Hart total assessment $2,825 — 
Fort Miller improvements $800, Millerton Chinatown $500, 600 goats one 
dollar each. Ira McCray assessed for a total of only $740. The New Idria 
quicksilver mine with 1,920 acres $102,130, Peters & Ferguson in the Exposi- 
tor plant $700, William C. Ralston. Bank of California president, $53,000 on 
dollar-an-acre land, W. S. Chapman, Edmund Jansen, Frederic Roecling 
et al $77,000 for like valued land. Besides his vast land holdings. Chapman 
with J. M. Montgomery was associated with William Deakin in 7,572 head 
of cattle. Darwin & Ferguson with three stock establishments, had 7,429 
acres assessed at $9,300, besides 2,200 at $3,000. In the early 80's along the 
Kings River and near Traver in Tulare lay large tracts owned by them. 
Their brand known in al! the region about was "76". and the land was 
called "the 76 countr>'." T^aac FririllamkT, "the wheat king," had in Fresno 
County 57.360 acres ;i.-:^i--((l at S,^r,4i)n. Scnat^irs Fowler and Kerman had 
300 steers at $7,500 and 3.(i(i:) luad nf stock ln<ides at fourteen dollars each. 
John Heinlcn 1,000 at $14,000, Jeff G. James and Selig & Company (whole- 



166 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

sale butchers of San Francisco) assessed for 16.877 acres at seventeen an 
acre, 200 beeves $5,000, 2,600 head of stock at $36,400, total $60,900, Miller 
& Lux assessed $102,600 for land. $61,250 for personal propertv and 4.000 
head of stock $56,000, L. Perez and E. Alttube 3,000 at $49,000. John Suther- 
land 600 stock horses $6,000. 500 beef cattle $12,500 and 5.000 stock cattle 
$70,000. 

AMONG THE BIG SHEEPMEN 

Among the big sheepmen in 1870 may be recalled W. T. Cole with a 
band of 5;0O0, William Helm 6,000, E. J. Hildreth 4,000, James R. Jones 
5,000. J. A. Patterson 4,500, Frank Dusy who counted 13,300 in his band 
in 1882, Alexander Gordon and W. C. Miller 10,000 in one year, John Suther- 
land who drove 12.000 to Texas one dry year. B. S. and J. T. Birkhead 
who counted 4,600 in their possession and J. N. Walker 6.000. Charles J. 
Hobler, who was an extensive raiser, was the first after 1872 to introduce 
the French Merino. \A"illiam Helm, who came to Fresno in 1865 from 
Placer County with sheep, was probably at one time the largest individual 
sheep raiser in this section. He bought 2,640 acres of land on Dry Creek 
at one dollar an acre and established winter camp on the site of the present 
county courthouse, having at one time 22,000 sheep that browsed in the 
mountains in the summer. In conveying his wool to market at Stockton, he 
employed three wagons, each drawn by ten mules, spending twelve days on 
the round trip. 

The following from a newspaper publication of forty years ago is of 
passing interest as marking the scope of the sheep industry at the close 
early in May, 1878, of the shearing season : 

"In the two shearing establishments here over 80.000 sheep have been 
sheared up to date and dipped and not more than 10,000 have been engaged 
for the next week. Frank Dusy has sheared a little over 42.000 and has not 
more than 4.000 more engaged. He has employed white men, has superin- 
tended the work himself and has paid from six to seven cents a head for 
shearing, the men boarding themselves. His dip has been lime and sulphur 
and he charges two cents each for sheep and one cent for lambs. Mr. Foster 
has sheared over 40.000 sheep and has between 6,000 and 8.000 yet to shear. 
William Helm and Jesse Morrow have had over 20,000 sheared at his 
corrals. He has employed white men, paid the same wages, and has charged 
one and one-half cents for dipping sheep and three-quarters of a cent for 
dipping lambs." 

Just as today, everj^ other farmer or retired land owner may be either 
a vineyardist or an orchardist. so in the 60's and 70's every other one in 
the county owning land was a stock raiser. In the county recorder's office 
are two interesting book records of the registered cattle brands. They are 
of historic value as the brief abstracts of the cattle period, and of the men 
who were the backbone of that once dominant industry of the county. Ex- 
amination of this register is like turning back the pages of time with recall 
of the familiar names of the long ago dead associated with Fresno's second 
industrial period. The record runs up into the thousands. 

The stockmen were the discoverers of the scenic wonders and the Big 
Trees of the Sierras. They were the pioneers that opened and marked the 
trails to the most inaccessible places in the search for feed for their animals. 
The name of many a pioneer stockman is perpetuated in the government 
quadrangle topographical maps. They are responsible also for the uncouth 
nomenclature of the landmarks. The forest service has improved their trails 
but adopted their routings as shown by the blazes on the trees. The stock- 
men's early mark is a rectangular chip clipped deep from the bark : that 
of the foresters on the same trees a chip the width of the ax blade and under 
it a longer vertical strip, the combination suggestive of the letter "i." 

Dinkey Creek was named by Frank Dusy for a little pet dog that was 



HISTORY OF FRESXO COL'XTY 167 

killed there by a bear. An enthusiastic naturaHst and mountain climber, 
describing a journey to the High Sierras, put in i)ook print that Tunemah 
Pass takes its name from the melodious Indian! In fact, it is the vile epithet 
that was uttered by a Chinese sheep herder of Dusy in giving vent to his 
opinion after descent of that well nigh impassable mountain ridge cleft 
from the north to the middle fork of the Kings River and the Tehipite 
Valley, rival of the Yosemite. Dutch Oven Creek gives reminder of the dis- 
aster to a party in fording that swift stream and the recovery of the indis- 
pensable oven as the only article of the camping outfit. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

Agriculture Formally Takes Possession of the Valley in the 
70's. Grain Growing or "Dry Farming" Conducted on a 
Gigantic Scale. Belt Extends From River to River. First 
Colonists Had Much to Overcome in Lack of Faith in 
Farming by the Old Residents. Stockmen Discouraged 
Them. Fertility of Soil Demonstrated. Development of 
Labor Saving Machinery. Improvements on Early Meth- 
ods. First Far^iing on the Plains. Failure of the Ala- 
bama Settlemfxt. Wheat as the Agricultural King of 
California with the "Dry Farmer" as his Prime Minister. 

The third general industrial period in the county's development came 
with the springing up about 1868 of farming, more especially grain growing, 
or "dry farming" as it was called. It was far more important in its effects 
than the superficial reader of local history wots of. It proved the agency 
that blazed the way for the fourth and most distinctive era that has made 
Fresno what it is in the line of fruit growing and in the products of the 
grapevine. 

The "dry farmer" disproved the popular fallacy entertained in the mid- 
dle 60's that the valley plains were unfit for agriculture because of the uncer- 
tainty of the rainfall, and anyhow because "farming was too much of a 
gamble." In the 70's the valley was throughout almost its entire length and 
breadth used for grazing, and the cattle barons doggedly disputing ground 
with the few widely scattered farmers. Then came the notable conflict, 
with the No-Fence law as the result and small farming as the heritage. 
Before that the belief was tenaciously held that the plains had value only 
as pasture. One journeyed for miles and saw nothing save cattle and sheep 
and an occasional herder's tent or brush shelter. Cattle roamed the plains 
practically from Stockton to Bakersfield. 

In the 70's agriculture formally took possession of the valley. In due 
time the two valleys "began on a great scale the first experiment in irriga- 
tion that the Anglo-Saxon has undertaken." It resulted in a remarkable 
success. The important fact must not be overlooked here that agricultural 
land in California means good, rich soil, free from rocks or trees and almost 
wholly fit for the plow. Valleys and rolling hills are as a general thing 
covered with wild oats and grasses and free from timber, brush, stones 
and other obstructions. Wheat growing was once on a colossal scale in 
the valley. Nothing attempted in California was done on a minor scale, 
it would appear. Measure was taken from the lofty mountains, the big trees, 
the great territory and the broad valleys as the scale. It was moreover "the 
thin edge of the entering wedge that displaced the stockmen and pushed 
them back, step by step, until the only refuge left them was the remote 
and less desirable land for cultivation," or the vast Spanish land grants. 



168 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

The wheat ranches were of great size, operated necessarily on a gigantic 
scale and corresponding cost. One thousand to 3,0(X)-acre grain fields were 
not uncommon. The individual largest grower in Fresno was Clovis M. 
Cole, who in 1891 had 10,000 acres in wheat. Instead of enriching him, it 
impoverished him in the end. Cole and his grain domain was a frequent 
subject of magazine articles and newspaper write ups. The rapidity of the 
growth of farming with irrigation once under way, the one naturally lead- 
ing up to the other, was noticeable. Fresno's grain belt lay between the 
eastern foothills and the railroad, with exceptions at Borden, Kingsburg 
and Selma. The rainfall almost double in the foothill country was as a rule 
ample for the well tilled soil. That soil was better adapted for cereal crops. 
The time was when you could say that the eastern foothill country from 
the Chowchilla to the Kings River was one vast grain field, and what is true 
of Fresno was equally so in the adjoining counties. 

Experimentation with irrigation was in progress during the "dry farming" 
period. The first colonists had many discouragements to overcome and espe- 
cially to contend against the lack of faith of the old resident in the possi- 
bility of successful farming on the plains, even with irrigation. There were 
no pessimists like the stock and sheepmen, and none more heavily stocked up 
with hard luck tales of dismal failures of health and crops. 

The climate? \\'orst in the world — they had seen the thermometer 130 
degrees in the shade, and no shade, and had seen birds drop dead from the 
heat. Fruit? Oh, it grew, but it also baked on the trees before ripening. 
Vegetables? Wouldn't grow even when irrigated, and then either rotted in 
the water or dried up in the sun-baked mud. Butter was out of the question, 
except during the winter, rainy months. Potatoes? Invariably crop failures, 
and what few were raised rotted when dug up. Trees and vines? A losing 
proposition, because the pestiferous jack-rabbit overran the plains, and the 
durned rabbit-proof fence was a snare and a delusion because the rabbits 
burrowed under it. Chickens had never done well on the plains and could 
not be profitably raised, and besides there were the coyotes. Sandstorms, 
hot and cold winds and whirlwinds made life a burden. Instances were de- 
tailed of fever and ague following up the bringing of water for irrigation, 
and as a finale the truly sympathetic stockman earnestly and charitably 
advised the listener to hurry away before his last dollar went for grub to 
keep body and soul together. 

WHEAT GROWING LONG HELD SWAY 

The fruit and vine industries had inception about 1880, but wheat 
growing held sway for about thirty years. Unceasing repetition of crops 
with consequent impoverishment of the soil and added indifferent cultiva- 
tion had their effect. Grain growing did not then bring in the returns that 
the earlier years had. Resort was had to summer fallowing and irrigation. 
This proved an aid in the crop production, but even then the soil did not 
yield as once, and the profits grew beautifully less in the face of the large 
acreage sown. This led to the consideration of other crops, and fruit and 
vine attracted attention. Bees and poultry were found to give good returns 
on small investments and comparatively little care. Alfalfa proved a 
specially adapted forage plant. Trees and vines returned greater profits, 
and so orchards, vineyards and alfalfa fields eventually supplanted the grain 
ranches. They ushered in the wine, raisin and cured fruit industries, while 
the pastures gave stimulus to dairying and live stock. 

With average rainfall the plains produced rich grain crops, j-ielding 
from fifteen to twenty bushels an acre, varying according to climatic and 
rain conditions. San Joaquin Valley wheat was, all in all, of excellent qual- 
ity and considered as among the best milling wheat anywhere. The grain 
crop values proved greater than the gold yield. In 1860 the wheat crop 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 169 

was 2,530,400 bushels, in 1870, 6,937,038, in 1880, 29,017,707 and in 1889, 
40,869,137, the largest wheat crop save that of Minnesota and wheat worth 
a dollar a bushel, equaling the gold yield before 1856 and almost doubling 
any two seasons in wheat since. 

The success of farming on the plains, with proof of the fertility and 
possibility of the soil, was stimulating. Population increased and the build- 
ing of permanent homes resulted. The coming of the railroad was, to be 
sure, an important factor to help bring about the new life. Fresno city grew 
— indeed outdistanced its rivals, notably Stockton, Visalia and every other 
new town on the railroad. In 1870 the countv had 6,336 population, in 1880 
9,478, in 1890 32,026, in 1900 37,862 and in 19'lO 75,657. Land that had been 
in the market for two and one-half dollars an acre sold for fifty dollars, $100 
to $200 and more where under irrigation. The changed conditions neces- 
sarily made cultivation and harvesting more rapid and economical. Cradle, 
reaper and single plow were too slow for the San Joaquin Valley big wheat- 
grower. Implements and machinery adapted to the times and needs were 
improved upon as in the great gangplows and combined harvesters. 

Cultivating from 400 to 1.200 acres, a single plow was first used, then 
two were fastened together. Then came the gangplow with one man and 
ten horses plowing ten acres in a day turning up a three-foot swath. Then 
it was eight feet, sowing, and harrowing at the same time with an oil burn- 
ing machine. The pioneer used the old fashioned mower for grain cutting. 
Then came the invented California Header, levelling a twenty-foot swath 
and sending a steady stream of grain into the receiving wagon. Later the 
great hay-fork operated by horsepower lifted the grain from wagon and 
stacked it. The McCormick thresher burned straw for fuel instead of wood, 
threshing 2.000 bushels in a day. James Marvin, a San Joaquin farmer, con- 
trived a combined header and harvester, but it was not successful until after 
improved. Then when drawn by thirty horses, it cut, threshed and sacked 
fifteen acres in a day and later it was operated by its own motive power. 

The threshing machine is popularly supposed to have been first operated 
in Fresno County on Dry Creek in 1870 by Hewlett, Jack and Wyatt. The 
heading machine was a notable improvement on the thresher. It was worked 
by the team pushing, as it were, instead of drawing it. The driver lowered 
or raised the sickle bar according to the height of the grain stalks. The heads 
dropped into a traveling gangway attached to the machine and into a 
wagon driven alongside of the header, the side of the bed next to the header 
receptively lower. Wagon after wagon followed the header, the loaded 
going to the thresher and dumping grain on a platform to be cleaned at the 
rate of hundreds of bushels in a day. This machine was superseded by a 
most economical and ingenious contrivance, the combined harvester driven 
by fifteen to twenty-four horses, harnessed six abreast, attended by four 
to five men cutting, threshing and sacking grain on thirty to thirty-five acres 
in a day, twenty to thirty bushels to the acre. 

The grain threshed in the field filled sacks of 100 or 200 pounds each. 
The long dry season dried the grain ready for the mill or for shipment 
in bulk or in sacks. The sacked grain was left in heaps in the field measurably 
secure from rain until November, or if transported to shipping points piled 
up on wdiarves until loaded on shipboard. So dry was the grain that it went 
direct from the thresher aboard ship or car without damage. Mills have 
had to dampen it before grinding into flour. A peculiarity of California 
wheat is that the kernel does not shell, however ripe, or how long it stands 
in the field. Rain or weather change does not open it. In ordinary seasons 
enough grain was shelled in the handling to make seed for a volunteer crop, 
and good harvests were had for several seasons without plowing or sowing. 
But best crops follow the annual sowing with deep plowing and summer fal- 
lowing. Custom was once to burn the straw on the field where the thresher 
stood, and with fire to clean of¥ the stubble. Drought and cold and long 



170 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

winter rains tauglit the farmers the lesson and straw burning was aban- 
doned. It was stacked, shedded and secure from rain and summer's scorch- 
ing heat the feed was saved for a time of need. 

Prior to^l868, settlements for farming operations were few in the county 
save in the foothills as on Dry Creek, and on the lower Kings River. The 
great waterless plain between the rivers "was common pasture ground for 
whosoever chose to turn stock upon it." The government had surveyed and 
sectionized most of the land, but no one was tempted to acquire or occupy 
on account of the lack of water. Land was acquired for speculative purposes 
in great blocks and sheep turned out upon it when driven out of the moun- 
tains by the snow. Here and there a venturesome farmer sowed grain upon 
the too dry soil, took desperate chances on the season, and harvested only 
too frequently defeat, ridicule and I-told-you-so triumph for the sheepman, 
who having crowded out the cattleman himself stood in fear of speedy 
elbowing out by agriculture. 

Still one of the large productions of the county was wheat in its day. 
The area devoted to wheat during the season of 1880-81 was 100,000 acres, 
the county export about 800,000 bushels, worth not less than $750,000. It 
was the high price of wheat that induced grain farming on a large scale in 
Stanislaus County, and in turn prompted William S. Chapman and . Isaac 
Friedlander, the wdieat market manipulator in California, to take up great 
tracts of "plain lands" in this countv in 1868 and 1869, around Borden and 
covering the present site of Fresno City. 

"Dry farming" in grain growing was at best a venturesome undertak- 
ing. There had been droughts and short crops in 1869. 1870 and 1871. Other 
years to 1876 were more or less fraught with woe for the "dry farmer." The 
very instability of this "dry farming" suggested the thought of irrigation, 
but "the man of the hour" had not yet come to the fore. 1862 was a set- 
backing year — year of the big flood — with the valley basin from Sacramento 
to Visalia under two feet of water, fifty lives lost and damage estimated at 
fifty millions entailed. Two years later was another dry period, with 
scarcely any rain in the winter of 1863 or the spring of 1864. Little hay was 
cut. The wheat crop was a failure. Hay went to sixty dollars a ton and 
wheat was scarce at five dollars a bushel. Horses, cattle and sheep perished 
wholesale. The poorest beef sold at twenty-five cents a pound. Hay and 
grain were imported from Oregon and Nevada. 

But aside from all these causes, the time came wdien it was apparent 
that there was no longer profit on the big grain ranch. There was the fall 
in the price of wheat to seventy-five cents due to financial panics, the re- 
duced yield in ever taking from the soil and adding nothing to overcome 
its impoverishment, the increased value of land for the more profitable or- 
chard and vineyard and alfalfa field, all leading up to the practical surrender 
of the field to the small farmer and his varied crops. 

FIRST FARMING ON THE PLAINS 

It is a disputed question who first farmed on the plains of Fresno. The 
account most susceptible of proof is that the late A. Y. Easterby of Napa 
and a pioneer in development about Fresno, became the owner in July, 
1868, for $14,496 of about 5,000 acres, which an association of San Francisco 
merchants, mainly Germans, bought in a block of 80,000 acres from Chap- 
man and Friedlander, who had purchased from the government for scrip. 
The purchase price from them was one dollar and eighty cents an acre and 
the highest hoped for selling price was five dollars. An experimental crop 
of wheat was put in by Easterby in November, 1869, on land near Miller- 
ton as the nearest populated point, on which alfilaria and sunflowers ten feet 
high were growing luxuriantly, being in the northwest corner of Section 
8. Township 14 S., Range 21 E. M. J- Church, "the Father of Irrigation," 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 171 

whom Easterby had permitted to bring his sheep there to save them from 
starvation in Napa, bored the well and a man named ^NIcBride sowed wheat 
and barley. 

The seed germinated nicely, but for lack of spring rain dried up and 
what survived the drought was eaten up by roaming horses and cattle. 
Easterby had four sections set aside later for his own use after survey. They 
constituted the Easterby Rancho, first named the Banner Farm because of 
the raising of the flag on the barn staff on July 4, 1872, prol)a1)Iy the first 
display on the plains of which there is record. The story is added that when 
Easterby presented the deeds for recording, County Recorder Dixon hesi- 
tated to accept the fees, intimating that the man must be crazy who thought 
of cultivating the plains. In 1S71 l-'astcrliy put in wheat 2,000 acres, parti}' 
irrigated, paid in 1872 ."^1.2(17.32 frciL;lit mi lumber and $2,574 for fencing 
and lumber and in August and Sei.)tember shipped 20,000 sacks of wheat 
to Friedlander, the first wheat shipment from the plains of Fresno over 
the Southern Pacific. The eighteen carloads of lumber for fencing was the 
first shipment of the kind over the new road to this locality. Outlay on crop 
was $2,600; for lumber and freight $3,781. The Easterby rancho is a few 
miles east of town, comprising some of the best known pioneer vineyards 
in the district now called Sunnyside. 

The Alabama Settlement of 1868 formed of Alabamans. Mississippians 
and Tennesseeans who came after the war, was the first concerted eft'ort on 
the plains to raise grain. They had a drought the first year, suft'ered several 
more in after years, water was not always available for the irrigation of 
other crops, and besides they were in frequent conflict to sa^e their scant 
product from roaming cattle. The Alabama proved a failure, as did in after 
years the much vaunted and advertized John Brown Colony. The southern 
enterprise did not prosper, most of the founders removed to other localities 
and those who remained drifted into more congenial and lucrative fields — 
politics was a popular one — so that in 1874-75 the place had few of the 
original settlers. The failure was a conspicuous one. Besides the local con- 
ditions contributing to it, there was the important fact not to be overlooked 
that the southern planter and gentleman was evidently not cut out for the 
new and untried conditions of the life of pioneer farming in the Far West 
with accompanying hard labor and struggling poverty. 

The first name of the settlement was Areola from which town in Ala- 
bama the leading colonists came. It was afterward named for Dr. Joseph 
Borden, one of the leading spirits of the enterprise. Among the prominent 
colonists, who became men of note in Fresno politics and circles, were the 
R. L. Dixon. S. H. Holmes, W. B. Dennett, J. A. and J. H. Pickens, C. A. 
Reading and other families. Hardly a notable but had a military or judicial 
title. 

The cereal acreage of the state has greatly decreased in recent years. 
The soil has yielded much greater profit when devoted to fruit, vine and 
forage, alfalfa giving from four to six cuttings. As far back as 1852, Cali- 
fornia has held first place for barley, North Dakota and Minnesota slightly 
exceeding it in 1915. Since 1901 the acreage has been upwards of one mil- 
lion. That of 1910 with 1,195,000 and a product of 36.000,000 bushels is 
the largest on record. In 1915 the estimated acreage was 1,360.000 and the 
acre average twentv-nine bushels. In wheat the production notablv de- 
creased between 1900 and 1910. The acreage in 1915 was 440,000 and the 
acre yield sixteen bushels, one less than in 1914 with 400,000 acres. Rice 
growing is comparatively new in the state. In 1915 the state's acreage was 
32,110, with 3,135 in the San Joaquin Valley and Fresno leading with 1,120. 
The state's production was about 888,000 100-pound sacks, average return 
one dollar and eighty-five cents per hundred. The 1916 crop was almost 
double that of 1915 with more than 2,500,000 pounds harvested. Rice growing 
was started as late as four years ago on a comparatively large scale with 



172 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

50.000 acres under cultivation in the state in 1916. The prospect is for a 
100,000 acreage in 1917 of the "short kernel" variety of rice. 

Passed, however, is the day when wheat may be hailed as the agricul- 
tural king in California with the grain grower as his prime minister. It is 
Charles NordhofT in his remarkable little book, "California for Health, Pleas- 
ure and Residence," unquestionably the best, most truthful and oft quoted 
of practical works on the subject for travellers and settlers, who relates in 
connection with the phenomenal and rapid production with labor saving 
machinery in the field the incident that with combination steam header and 
thresher the grain in the field in the morning was in sacks and frequently 
at the shipping depot for steamship or car to market before night, or even 
carried to the mill to be returned to the ranch as flour, so that the laborer who 
helped harvest it in the morning bolted it down at supper time in the eve- 
ning as hot yeast powder bread or saleratus biscuits. NordhofT locates this 
story in Fresno, but leaves it to the imagination to conclude that the stunt 
was a performance on the Cole 10,000-acre grain ranch, which embraced the 
region about Clovis, named for the P. T. Barnum of "dry farmers." Cole 
is, by the way, engineering a steam thresher in his old days at a per diem. 



CHAPTER XXX 

Vasquez and His Robber Band in the Limelight Focus. Mil- 
LERTON is Given a Great Scare. Audacious Twilight Rob- 
beries Committed Within a Few Miles From the County 
Seat. Murieta's Retreat in a Defile of the Coast Range 
IN THE County is the Haven of Refuge and the Starting 
Point on Raids. State is Terrorized and Half a Dozen 
Sheriffs Are Kept Busy in the Pursuit. Vasquez the 
Most Daring Rascal Since Murieta's Day. He is Hanged 
AT San Jose for a Murder at Tjies Pinos. 

Towards the close of the year 1873, and while warming up to the sub- 
ject of county seat removal, ilillerton was given a great scare by Tiburcio 
Vasquez and his robber gang. It was not groundless as were the periodical 
Indian uprising reports started on the occasion of every pow-wow by the 
excitable located remote from the settlements. A considerable portion of the 
state was likewise agitated and for the same long suffered reason. 

The robber gang came as near to Millerton as Jones' store, three miles 
below, and at Bliss" ferry at Kingston, being driven off here by armed 
citizens and leaving one bandit dead on the field. Sheriff's posses pursuing 
the robbers were out several times, but never with any result. Vasquez 
and his gang had become such a terror that the sheriffs of a half a dozen 
counties were in pursuit, and the state had offered such a large reward for 
capture, dead or alive, that speculative bands of man hunters were tempted 
to go on the trail. Millerton so confidently expected a robber visit that as 
a precautionary measure the two mercantile establishments expressed out 
all their unused money. 

In the history of California highwaymen, this Vasquez made a record 
for himself second only to Vurieta for notoriety and achievements. Ban- 
croft says that except "in skill of horsemanship and dexterity in catching 
and killing men," one was opposite to the other. Murieta was "of gentle 
blood, handsome, gay and chivalrous" : Vasquez, a "hybrid, half Indian, 
coarse, treacherous and brutish." His boyhood was "spent in taming wild 
horses, cutting flesh with bowie knives, and shooting, dancing the bolero 
and fandango, and betraying young damsels." Bancroft adds that he was "a 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 173 

be-deviled Don Juan at love, for repulsive monster though he was the dear 
creatures could not help following him." 

Vasquez had selected Cantua Canyon, a defile in the Coast Range, near 
the New Idria mine, as a retreat and a starting point for robber descents. 
This was generally known and his proximity made the Millertonians so 
fearful of a visit as to necessitate especial watchfulness — "preparedness" as 
it were. Vasquez ended his career on the gallows in the Santa Clara County 
jail on March 19, 1875, for one in a series of murders in the raid of the store 
at Tres Pinos in San Benito County on the evening of August 26, 1873. He 
was not apprehended until March 14, 1874, near Los Angeles. The near- 
home robberies that so agitated Millerton were at Jones' November 10, and 
at Kingston December 26, 1873. 

The Jones' affair occurred early in the evening, when ten or a dozen 
were smoking or playing cards in the store. Front and rear doors opened 
and three men entered with drawn and cocked revolvers. The inmates were 
ordered to lie down and keep quiet. They obeyed and submitted to be 
bound. Smith Norris, the clerk, was forced to open the safe and it was 
cleaned out. The robbers helped themselves to clothing, firearms and each 
to a saddle. Their visit lasted nearly an hour and a half, and when they 
departed they left the bound victims prone on the floor. 

The store was on the main stage road at the ferry, and no house near 
save the hotel in rear. Jones was there, but had no inkling of what had 
gone on. The robbed were : John E. Bogg, John Gilmore, Capt. E. P. Fisher, 
Smith Norris, Jack Hazlett, H. Ivohlman. John Fuqua, Hugh Clark, Walter 
Brown, John Berry and Bob Trumbull. All were searched. The old Chinese 
cook, who lay near Fisher, unbound him and he in turn liberated the others. 
Fisher took the information to town, arriving about eight thirty o'clock, 
and Sheriff Ashman and posse set out in fruitless pursuit on the following 
morning, which was a Tuesday. Raid enriched the robbers in goods and 
money to the value of $1,000. 

For audacious daring, this exploit was surpassed in the little town of 
Kingston on the Kings River flowing along the southerly edge of the settle- 
ment and spanned by a bridge owned by O. H. Bliss. On the south side 
of the one street were two stores and a hotel, and fronting them to the 
north Bliss' bridge and stable. L. Reichert had the hotel. Stores were owned 
respectively by E. Jacob & Louis Einstein, and by S. Sweet. The robbers 
crossed the bridge on foot and encountering Bliss compelled him to lie down, 
tied his hands and feet and searched his person. He complained that his 
head was in an uncomfortable position, and a blanket was brought him for 
a pillow. 

Next were halted John Potts, Pres Bozeman and Milt Brown near the 
stable yard gate. Bozeman and Potts laid down, but Brown objected and 
being marched to the hotel laid down there. Potts and Bozeman were 
searched and the last named yielded $180. The road being clear, a guard was 
placed at each store. In the hotel saloon were ten or more, who were made 
to lie down, tied and relieved of watches and money, realizing $100, besides 
Reichert's watch. In the dining room was Edward Douglass of Visalia, who 
would not lie down but being knocked down with a revolver lost money 
and watch. Launcelot Gilroy was at supper, when a bandit entered, where- 
upon Miss Reichert screamed and ran. Gilroy concluded he had insulted 
her, arose to his feet and gallantly floored the robber with a chair, but in 
turn was pounded with a pistol. ■ 

At Jacob & Einstein, Edward Erlanger, the clerk, instead of lying down, 
ran to Sweet's store and gave the alarm. Sweet thrust his head out of the 
door, was seized by the guard, shoved back and made to lie down and be 
tied. After Erlanger's exit, Einstein was asked for the safe key, but pleaded 
that the clerk had it. He was forcibly prevailed upon to produce another, 
and the safe viekled about $800 cash. At Sweet's $34 had been secured, when 



174 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the crack of a Henry rifle was heard, followed by another, and the guard 
sprang forward against the door, exclaiming, "I'm shot!" ^lore shots fol- 
lowed and the robbers beat a hasty retreat across the bridge and scampered 
off on horses. 

J- W. Sutherland and James E. Flood had learned what was going on 
and arming themselves arrived at the moment of the attack on Sweet's store. 
Flood armed with a revolver in which only one charge was left tried to head 
off the fugitives at the bridge, but failing gave them the parting shot. The 
robbers secured over $2,500 in money and jewelry. They bound and robbed 
thirty-five individuals. Great excitement prevailed, a crowd collected, but 
nothing was done in pursuit that night. Next morning Sutherland and others 
found about four miles from Kingston a Mexican in the brush and he con- 
fessed that he was one of the party. 

He told a story in effect that he was going to Kingston for clothes, was 
overtaken by the party, robbed of $20 and then upon threat of death compelled 
to go on guard at the hotel. He disclaimed acquaintanceship with anyone in 
the party. Ignacio Ronquel, which proved to be the name of this fellow 
arrested near the California ranch, pleaded guilty before Judge Baley in 
February, saying he was "one of those fellows at Kingston," but he "did not 
go into the houses with the rest of them and attended the horses." He pleaded 
for mercy and it was meted out to him in ten years in the penitentiary. 

Two weeks after the robbery, a party of Kingstonians satisfied that they 
could not have been such bad marksmen visited the California ranch and 
extorted information from an old Mexican suspected of knowing more of 
the late raid than he would volunteer to tell. He chose to remember that a 
Mexican named Ramona, a sheepherder, was killed in the affair and he pointed 
out his grave. The body was exhumed and one bull's eye was scored. 

Not long after, the legislature appropriated $15,000 as a reward for the 
pursuit and capture of \'asquez and his gang and so many were in the field 
spurred by the offer that undoubtedly some of these amateur man chasers 
themselves overstepped legal bounds by threatening innocent ^Mexicans. The 
consul of Mexico made protest from San Francisco and Sheriff Ashman 
received this caution : 

Sacramento, Cal., January 20, 1874. 

TO SHERIFF OF FRESNO COUNTY: I understand from the 
Mexican Consul that the Mexican settlers of Las Juntas and 
Rancho California, near Palo Blanco, are threatened with vio- 
lence and their lives are in danger. You are required to protect 
them. 

NEWTON BOOTH, Gov. 
Twenty years or more elapsed between the bloody reigns of Murieta and 
Vasquez, though two decades also intervened between Vasquez's first and 
last murders. Tiburcio slew his first man at the age of fifteen and almost 
within the year after Joaquin's worldly exit. 

Vasquez stole the wife of his most devoted follower, a cousin, but as 
Bancroft sarcastically pleads for him, "who could resist Vasquez, the 
adored of all, he who never sighed to senorita or senora in vain, the 
fleet of foot, the untiring dancer, the fearless rider, the bold brigand?" Vas- 
quez was cunning, had always ready conviviality for his comrades, money 
for the needy, and a smile for everybody. His personal magnetism and in- 
fluence over others are said to have been wonderful, and followers joined him 
because forsooth they could not resist him. 

Vasquez was born at Monterey in 1835, of Indian and ^lexican parentage, 
and was bold, cruel, alert and cautious. In 1859 he was a convicted horse 
stealer but escaped in June to be again convicted in August, his terms expiring 
in August 1863, when he walked forth free but not reformed. A third time 
was he convicted of cattle stealing in Sonoma in 1867 and he was immured at 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 175 

San Ouentin until June 1870. Before this in 1865, he was wounded in the 
arm in a pistol duel with a Mount Diablo farmer with whose daughter he 
had eloped. In the autumn following his last penitentiary release, he and 
associates overran Santa Clara, Monterey, Fresno and Alameda counties, 
robbing stage passengers, plundering ranchos and running ofif horses in swift 
and startling succession. One associate was shot dead in a hand to hand 
battle with Sherif? Morse of Alameda, the others skedaddled to Mexico but 
shortly returned to San Francisco, where a new combination was formed and 
Cantua Canyon was selected as a retreat and refuge. It was once the favorite 
camp and shelter of Murieta. 

In the hills here, \'asquez was comparatively safe. White settlers were 
few, and the native Californians almost to a man aided and befriended him, 
largely through fear. He was known to have appeared openly at the New 
Idria mine on various occasions. The law-abiding were prevented from doing 
anything towards bringing him to justice, fearing the consequences. It is 
probable that the Mexicans there would have resisted any attempt at an 
arrest. One superintendent permitted Vasquez from motives of policy to 
come to the mine as long as he committed no depredation there and \'asquez 
never did trouble the miners or cast covetous eye on their horses. Several 
attempts at capture were made by Sheriff Adams of Santa Clara, but on 
every occasion and in spite of disguise and the utmost secrecy, so Vasquez 
stated, he was apprised of Adams' movements and designs before half the 
journey was made. 

The robber band halted the Visalia-Gilroy stage near San Felipe, robbed 
passengers, tied them, laid them on their backs in the field to face the sun 
for hours and drove the stage around a hill point out of view of travellers. 
They held up three or four teamsters en route to Hollister and later on the 
same day \'asquez alone robbed Thomas McMahon, later a Hollister leading 
merchant, of $750 in gold. These successive outrages stirred up the country 
and a Santa .Cruz constable following on Vasquez's trail overtook him and 
in the fight both were severely wounded. Vasquez rode sixty miles to his hid- 
ing place in Cantua and arrived almost dead from loss of blood. 

Weary of small game, the project was conceived of robbing a railway 
pay car between Gilroy and San Jose. Too slow however in the work of 
tearing up the track, the pay car train came ten minutes ahead of time and 
they scattered. At Tres Pinos. while the brigands ransacked Andrew Sny- 
der's store, Vasquez held "a Iiloody carnival outside" as watch. Among the 
slain Leander Davidson was shot in the heart with a bullet that pierced the 
door that he was closing and which the wife had opened to see what all the 
shooting outside meant. After the murderous raid in which Vasquez was 
such a conspicuous cold-blooded figure, seven horses were commandeered out 
of the stable and the gang hurried to its Cantua retreat. 

Half a dozen sheriff's and their posses camped on the trail of Vasquez, 
and as a result of a plan for his capture he was surprised unarmed at the 
dinner table of a friend near Los Angeles. Leaping through a back window, 
he rushed for his horse but was struck by rifle ball after rifle ball, where- 
upon he threw up hands, faced his captors with blood streaming from wounds 
and surrendering said: "Boys, you have done well. I have been a damned 
fool !" 

The capture, which was hailed with delight and joy the state over, was 
preceded by a series of bold robberies. His penny-a-liner biographer records 
that he was "betrayed for coin." May be so. Not until after lie had partially 
recovered from his eight wounds was he transferred to San Jose's jail as 
Hollister afiforded no secure guarding place. "While the notorious bandit was 
in jail in San Jose, thousands visited him. He usually sat in a chair and with a 
smile gave all courteous reception, apparently taking delight in his position. 
His vanity was inordinate and whenever a young woman (half the visitors 
were of the weaker se.x) would approach he appeared as pleased as a monkey 



176 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

at the present of a tin trumpet. He evidently regarded himself as a hero 
and from the false sympathy received from a portion of the other sex it is 
no wonder that his head was slightly turned. 

He was tried in January 1875 for Hotelman Davidson's murder, the de- 
cision on appeal being rendered about two weeks before the day for the execu- 
tion. The day before, he asked to see the coffin and measured it with hands to 
satisfy himself that it would fit in length. Sheriff W. R. Rowland of Los 
Angeles received in June 1874 the state reward for the capture of "the most 
daring rascal since Joaquin Murieta's time." 



CHAPTER XXXI 

Water for Irrigation and the Advent of the Railroad Two 
Powerful Agencies in the Upbuilding of City and County. 
Sycamore as a Projected Rival Town to the New County 
Seat. Failure of a Gigantic Irrigation Project. Railroad 
Exacted Tribute From Farmer and Towns. Leland Stan- 
ford's Prophecies. Fresno Given all Encouragement by 
Railroad Builders. Sycamore Passes Out of Recollection. 
Historic Transaction Giving Rise to the Familiar Harris 
Land Title. Railroad Comes in for Fresno Townsite. 

But for the assurance of bringing water for irrigation on the plains and to 
the townsite, Fresno might not have been encouraged when and where it was. 
The water and the railroad came practically together. This fact should not 
be overlooked in a consideration of the first days of Fresno City. 

Previous to 1866, there had been no notable appropriation or diversion 
of water from the Kings River, the stream which furnishes the major por- 
tion of the irrigation water of the county. The railroad that headed this way 
was the Stockton and Visalia division of the Central Pacific Railway, branch- 
ing of? at Lathrop on the most direct and straight line through the valley 
counties. 

Give ear to the doleful tales of early and later pioneers and one cannot 
imagine a more inhospitable spot on desert plain for the location of a com- 
munity or townsite. A "growing village" was a description of Fresno as 
late as 1881. On this barren plain, every want of man "from a pin to a gang 
plow had to be provided," as has been said. Every supply to the commonest 
necessary of life had to be transported from Stockton by freight train. In its 
infant days, Fresno was a railroad fostered town. Along the line, new towns 
sprang up to transform in the course of time the general character of the 
country and establish new lines of industry. The process was a tedipusly 
slow one, but the transformation came about in time. 

The practice of the railroad was in connection with these new towns to 
sell off at public auction a given number of choice lots as a settlement nucleus. 
In the case of Fresno, no buyers rushed forward for lots at this "desolate and 
forlorn looking station," and the company magnanimously permitted new 
comers to squat on the lots and improve them with the understanding that 
they would pay for them if they concluded eventually to locate permanently. 
It was anything to give the new town a start and a beginning. There were 
however influences as potent as the bringing of water to the plains and the 
advent of the railroad working for the location on the desert plain of the 
great interior valle)'. The railroad, it may be conceded, had not contemplated 
a town, possibly nothing more ambitious than a station, where Fresno stands. 

The fact is the Central Pacific had no generous government land grants 
through the valley, and therefore it was a beggar for land for townsites. It 
probably did not seriously consider planting a rival so close to its own town 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 177 

of Sycamore, afterward named Herndon for an humble Irish section-boss, 
on the south bank of the San Joaquin. Watson's Ferry, eight miles above 
Firebaugh on Fresno Slough, was the head of steamboat traffic on the San 
Joaquin in the days before irrigation, when the river was used for navigation. 
Small steamboats and light craft ascended as far as Sycamore, and there are 
rare old maps that mark the head of river navigation as at that point. Syca- 
more Station was a railroad creation and location of the year 1872, and it 
was deemed of sufficient importance to warrant a postoffice in September of 
that year with Charles A. Strivens as postmaster, the postoffice officially 
known as Palo Blanco. It was an important ferry crossing point for that 
section. Along in 1881 a new ferry scow was put on, sixty-five feet long by 
seventeen in width, described as "a better and more substantial affair than 
the old one." 

The railroad laid out a town there, and it was thought that it would 
have a future with the completion of the big irrigation ditch out of the San 
Joaquin, abandoned in the end notwithstanding the fortune spent on it. It 
was at this point that the railroad bridged the river originally. Sycamore 
was for a time a divisional construction point, and a spur track was placed 
along the south bank to take out tons and tons of gravel for the ballasting of 
the road from Lathrop. It had been ballasted largely wnth sand and gravel 
brought from as far as Auburn in Placer County. The irrigation project re- 
ferred to must not be confounded with the Herndon Ditch as known at this 
date, but was the Herndon Canal. Evidences of it may be seen in the ditch 
along Big Dry Creek and the river bluff on the south side, and the dam 
remnants in the river. 

It was a conception of the Upper San Joaquin Irrigation Company, and 
report has it that nearly three million dollars were sunk to demonstrate its 
impracticability. This project undertaken in 1880-82 was the largest and most 
ambitious irrigation plan attempted up to then in the county to divert from 
the river about four miles below old Millerton by means of a rock dam across 
the channel. It was designed to water 250,000 acres lying west of the rail- 
road. The dam was 800 feet long, calculated to raise the water in the channel 
six feet, canal to be twenty-five miles long and where crossing the railroad 
on the plains to be about twelve feet above the river bed. It proved a failure, 
because on account of the nature of the soil the ditch banks would not hold 
the water, and moreover the river dam was washed out several times by 
freshets so that the raise of water in the basin was never attained. 

The Bank of California, which was heavily interested in the project for 
the marketing of its western plains lands in the territory now covered by 
Kerman, Barstow Colony and the agricultural neighborhood, completed the 
canal at a dead loss as the sequel proved. The canal was an engineering and 
construction failure. The original plan was to tap the stream at the rocky 
gorge below Millerton, where the Jenny Lind bridge bought by the county 
in February for $9,000, spanned the river for a generation, carry it through 
the rocky blufif tunnel and thus make' the level of the plains. The cost of 
tunnelling estimated at about one million was deemed too high, and this 
plan was rejected for the one that was attempted to be put through and to 
make the level by running the canal along the blufif. Herein lay the weak 
feature, for the north side of the canal scooped out of the bluff would not 
stand. The water seeped into the loose soil and breaches many followed, 
letting out all the water. Repairs were made until patience was exhausted, 
and at best, wdien completed, the water could not be carried down more than 
five or seven miles. The project could have been saved by cementing the 
canal, but this meant another great outlay and Portland cement in those 
days was a costly import. Perhaps the bank concluded that to sink more 
money into the venture was throwing good coin after the bad and the 
undertaking was given up. 

Activities centered at Sycamore, where the railroad had four sections of 



178 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

land, were sufficient to warrant the generally entertained belief that here it 
had resolved to build a town. Rival townsites were located by speculators, 
but nothing more tangible ever came of them save the platted maps recorded 
as reminders of the unrealized hopes of their projectors. So great were the 
expectations based on Sycamore that it is pathetic to look over in the county 
recorder's office the ponderous volume of 1.054 printed pages intended to 
record as many sales deeds by H. Deas as the agent and factotum of the 
high sounding Central California Land and Immigration Company. A book 
of printed deeds must needs be furnished to save the time and labor of 
copying work. It records twenty-two deeds to as many individuals of actual 
lot sales made in 1879. 

With the prospect of a railroad after all the years of preparatory agi- 
tation, a few men had become the owners of liberal chunks of government 
scrip. They filed it on the best located plains tracts, also in the foothills 
and a speculation in Fresno lands opened. In this speculative field entered 
an association composed largely of wealthy Germans in San Francisco un- 
der the name of the San Joaquin Valley Land Association. It bought from 
William S. Chapman, whose ownership embraced 80,000 acres, as it had done 
also from others. A. Y. Easterby of Napa, later intimately associated with 
Moses J. Church, "the Father of Irrigation," as he has been called, in 1871 
had contracted to cultivate 2,000 acres of the Easterby Rancho to wheat. 
Church to bring the water for irrigation from the Kings River. Every one 
awaited with anxiety the outcome of the Easterby wheat experiment. 

The association was probably not the lever that moved the railroad mag- 
nates to favor the site of the future Fresno City, but its members were, and 
they were the medium through which an arrangement was made for a 
gift or a sale to the railroad of land including the townsite. The Fresno 
Canal and Irrigation Company had also become a verity and all things con- 
sidered there is probably color of truth for the story that when the canal 
had been extended to the ranch, not more than three miles from the town- 
site, the railroad people consulted with the canal projectors and were given 
the assurance that the plains at and around the town would and could be 
brought under water for irrigation. 

The railroad was not a philanthropic movement. Indeed it is history 
that it demanded and exacted tribute from farmer as well as town in rights 
of way or subsidies and meted out punishment when the demands were not 
accorded. Stockton, which because of its location and at the head of water 
transportation could afford to assume an independent attitude, was threat- 
ened with a day when the grass would grow in its streets, and Lathrop was 
founded in opposition. Goshen was placed on the map as a train change 
station, because Visalia did not comply with the demand made upon it, and 
Sumner (East Bakersfield) was made a divisional point to spite Bakersfield 
for the same reason. With Fresno, the railroad was friendly and gave it en- 
couragement. Leland Stanford paid a visit in November, 1871, en route to 
\'isalia and took a long distance view of conditions. It may have been on 
that occasion, according to the old story, that he uttered the confident pre- 
diction so many times quoted since that Fresno would be some day the 
best town on the railroad between Stockton and Los Angeles. If he ever 
made the prediction, it has been long verified. 

Be that as it may, the visit had undoubted beneficial results. Easterby 
was earnestly progressing with his 2,000-acre wheat venture, the irrigation 
canal map had been recorded on June 9, 1871, and the Centerville ditch 
brought in in September. Stanford and accompanying officials were driven to 
the rancho to look over the situation, and there is another handed down 
story that as he stood on the later site of the station depot he indulged in 
another prophecy when he remarked to the Reception Committee : "Gentle- 
men, this town can never go bankrupt with a fund like that to draw on." 
He alluded to the waters of the two rivers and the melting snows of the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 179 

Sierras that fed them. He was prescient in beholding in his mind's eye 
Fresno City as the great shipping point for a rich agricultural district. 

At the rancho the sprouting grain was beheld— a veritable oasis in the 
desert — and they regarded it as a revelation, being, as they asserted, the first 
green spot that they had set eyes upon since leaving Stockton. "Here," said 
Stanford, "we must locate the town." The San Joaquin Valley Land Asso- 
ciation later did arrange for the sale on easy terms of the townsite, and in 
December, 1875, the Contract and Finance Company deeded as recorded to 
Charles Crocker 4,480 acres including the townsite of Fresno, excepting only 
the lots that had been before then sold and conveyed. 

Incidently may be recalled the fact that the division never was pushed 
to Visalia, oldest and most important town in the valley, as old as 1852. 
Visalia was not so accommodating or compliant as Fresno. It ignored the 
demand for a 160-acre townsite donation. The railroad switched ofi on its 
projected line that was to come southward via Pacheco Pass and the West 
Side of Fresno and made its terminus at Tres Pinos in San Benito County. 
A switch off on the valley division was made to Goshen on the Tulare alkali 
waste, which like the famous mythical Shelbyville in Fresno County was 
simply a point on the railroad map. 

Visalia secured railroad connection with the main line at Goshen by 
private enterprise, but eventually the main line swallowed it up when the 
San Joaquin Valley Railroad came through. Instead of the terminal at 
Visalia as contemplated, the division road was run due west via Hanford 
to Huron, then "a desolate waste" as was Fresno, given over to sheep graz- 
ing on the wild grasses and in later years to "dry farming." 

Visalia had its revenge though, for in the construction of its line from 
Goshen to Tipton the railroad laid steel rails imported from Germany and 
shipped around the Horn, in violation of its grants conditioning that only 
American steel be used in rail laying. The Visalians exploited this depart- 
ure, and not to jeopardize its land grants the German rails were torn up 
and the home made article substituted. 

The Fresno land transaction referred to was such an important one 
from the historical standpoint, though overlooked by reviewers, as to merit 
more than simple mention. The bigness of the deal, the acreage involved 
and the amount of money covered by the trust deed, combined to make it 
such, aside from the influence it had in the development of county and city. 
The transaction is covered by a deed of August 4, 1868, from William S. 
Chapman to Clinton Gurnee recorded September 1, 1868, to centralize sales, 
followed by a deed of trust from Gurnee to Chapman, Edmund Jansen and 
Frederick Roeding for themselves and other purchasers, the magnitude of 
the transfer being evidenced by the fact that to this instrument war tax 
stamps of the value of $87.50 are attached. Chapman is described as having 
"entered the land described," and the consideration stated is $83,700. The 
total acreage covered by the trust deed to facilitate sales was 79,921 and 
the conveyances as to acreage : 

Chapman 31,421, Jansen, Roeding, Isaac Friedlander 5,000 each; Chris- 
tian H. Voigt, Charles Baum, William Scholle and George H. Eggers 2,500 
each : Edward Michelsen, Frederic Putzman, Henry Schmieden, William 
Kroning, Rudolph, Hochkofler, Gottlieb Muecke, Francis Locan, Thomas 
Basse and Albert L. Wangenheim, 2,000 each; Henry Balzar, Frederick 
During and Charles Adler, 1,000 each. 

Then there were individual deed transfers by Chapman. Later compli- 
cations arose when landowners began to sell among themselves or to others 
and subdivided their original acreage. In October, 1871, Gurnee deeded 
back to Chapman with covenant to pay all assessments due the Fresno Canal 
and Irrigation Company, and Chapman made deed under date of February 
28, 1873, to George Harris, bookkeeper for Francis Locan, for whom the 
Locan vinevard was named, and who was then a vineyardist in Napa 



180 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

County. The new deeds for the land all around Fresno and beyond were 
made to the individuals by Harris and the "Harris title" is as familiar in 
every title abstract office in the county as the A B C. 

As the result of this transaction, a great tract of long neglected land 
came into various uses, in its development and improvement new blood was 
injected into the life pulse of the county, even though few of the large buyers 
became actual settlers on this land bought for $1.50 to $2.50 an acre, Still 
the changes in ownership and the improvement of the favored spots served 
to bring to public notice as no agency had before the so-called arid lands 
surrounding Fresno. 

The eastern boundary of the township in which the city is embraced 
was surveyed by Alexis W. von Schmidt, and the other township lines 
by J. D. Jenkins in 1853, and the section lines in 1854 by James G. McDon- 
ald. Von Schmidt was a pioneer land surveyor and civil engineer. He was 
for several terms president of the Society of California Pioneers and the 
family became in later years Fresno County land owners. His greatest civil 
engineering achievement was the blowing up in San Francisco harbor of 
Blossom Rock, which in the main channel of navigation was such a menace 
that the government decided upon its removal, a successful piece of work 
that was made as much of at the time as the much later blowing up of 
Hell Gate in East River channel. New York Citv. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

Irrigation and Its Gradual Development. M. J. Church Re- 
membered After His Death in a Bequest. First Farm 
Demonstrations With Water Applied. Easterby Makes a 
Success of Wheat Farming. Church Champions Irrigation 
AND Develops it Despite the Most Implacable Hostilities. 
His Life is Plotted Against. Systems of the County and 
Its Water Possibilities. A AIarvelous Transformation 
Comes About in the First Decade. Water is Nowhere 
Cheaper or More Plentiful Than in this County. 

"I give, devise, and bequeath to my executors in trust the sum of five 
hundred dollars ($500) ; with which such moneys I direct such executors to 
erect over the grave of my friend, M. J. Church, a suitable, substantial. 
square granite monument, with the inscription thereupon, 'From F. G. 
Berry, a friend who appreciated his worth.' I make this bequest for the 
reason only that I consider that of all other men who have wielded an in- 
fluence for Fresno County, which has been my home for so many years, my 
friend, M. J. Church, by the development of the present irrigation system 
deserves more than any other this recognition at my hands." 

The quoted bequest is from the probated will of August 25. 1909, made 
by Fulton G. Berry, whom death summoned on April 9, 1910. The trust 
has been fulfilled. The monument is of Fresno granite from the mountain 
quarry above Academy. Church long preceded Berry to the grave. Both 
are interred here in Mountain View Cemetery. 

The language of the bequest fairly states the claim for recognition due 
M. J- Church, popularly acclaimed to have been "the Father of Irrigation in 
Fresno County." It is not the purpose to detract in the slightest from the 
credit that is due him for his achievement ! Truthful history must, however, 
record facts as they are. It is true that the Ufe work of M. J. Church was 
rounded out in Fresno in all its amplitude ; that the result was startling in 
effect and that mankind was the beneficiary. But this is not to say that 
it was he that conceived the thought that irrigation would convert the arid 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 181 

region into fertile fields, though he undoubtedly appreciated the fact after 
the more than satisfactory demonstrations. Nor was he the first irrigator, 
though he was the first to make a successful application of the idea on a 
scale more ambitious than an experiment. In the notable first demonstra- 
tions, he had the financial and moral cooperation and incitement of Easterby 
as shown in a previous chapter. 

Thereafter and in consequence, he became the foremost champion of 
irrigation, and through his efforts as the executive head and front of the 
movement he developed what is the present irrigation system. In the long 
and exasperating conflict, he was beset by obstacles that would have driven 
the ordinary mortal from the field disgusted and vanquished by the unap- 
preciativeness of his fellow men. Having aroused the implacable animosity 
of the alarmed stockmen by reason of his leadership in the No-fence law 
agitation and application of the theory of irrigation in connection with 
grain farming, he literally carried his life in his hands in the work. Three plots 
against it were confessed to him in warning, and yet he persisted, and bore 
as a martyr with set and unbending purpose 

"... the whips and scorns of time. 

The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 

. . . the law's delay. 

The insolence of ofifice and the spurns 

That patient merit of the unworthy takes." 

The previous chapter has treated of the Easterby-Church-McBride grain 
growing experiment in the Millerton foothills in 1869-70. The next experi- 
ment was in 1871-72 with Easterby as the irrigation projector and Church as 
the active coadjutor and later developer of it. Two thousand acres of the 
rancho were sown to wheat. Easterby engaged for the venture Charles M. 
Lohse, an experienced farmer from Concord in Contra Costa County. Be- 
fore his coming, Church and son had by September, 1871, flooded three sec- 
tions with aid of two ditches. Church having been engaged at $100 a month 
to superintend the getting of water. By February, 1872, the wheat was all 
in, in May the land was fenced, and in August and September 20,000 sacks 
of wheat were shipped as the crop. 

FIRST EFFORTS AT IRRIGATION 

Irrigation had made a start even before this venture was conceived. In 
October, 1871, Easterby bought for $1,800 the Sweem mill ditch at Center- 
ville, newly started but about to be sold under an attachment for debt. It 
was then that Church was engaged to run the water to the ranch and used 
the bed of Fancher Creek as the part channel medium. J. B. Sweem had 
recorded notice in August, 1869, of his water diversion from the Kings 
just below the existing Centerville Canal. 

In the summer of 1866 Anderson Akers and S. S. Hyde had a four-foot 
wide and two-foot deep ditch taking water from the river below William 
Hazelton's farm to theirs on the west side of the river, and they continued 
its use for two years when they sold the water right to the Centerville 
Canal and Irrigation Company. The latter was in existence under an in- 
corporation of August 9, 1868, and by a twenty-four-foot widened and four- 
foot deepened ditch ran considerable water to the farms about Centerville. 
Church recorded intention in July, 1870, to appropriate 3,000 feet of water, 
but to convey it to the ranch the Centerville ditch had to be crossed. The 
owners objected and so Easterby was constrained to buy it in May, 1871, 
and thus the water was secured from the Kings. 

To Lohse is due the credit of being the first large grain grower, not 
alone in the county but in the valley, and his success with wheat stimulated 
the entire region. The long anticipated railroad was in Fresno by April 19, 



182 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

1872, and others followed Easterby's example notably Frank Easterby, An- 
tonio Day, George Boggs, Robert Brownlee and presumably others. Easter- 
1)y pioneered also with cotton and shipped two bales to Manchester. The 
high cost of labor for picking made the venture prohibitive. Rice, ramie 
and flax did well. Tobacco was grown and being made into cigars in San 
Francisco he was offered a dollar a pound for his Havana leaf. The success 
with wheat suggested a larger appropriation of water for enlarged activities, 
and Chambers' Slough was chosen as the most available and accessible 
channel. 

Appropriation notice was nailed on a tree and a copy filed with the 
county clerk on May 16, 1872. Contract followed for a headgate excavation 
below the river level to avoid the necessity of a dam, and the channel cutting 
and clearing of it of boulders between gate and river was completed in the 
fall. In 1873 he further contracted with .farmers at Kingsburg to excavate 
a mile cut below Chambers' headgate, the consideration being twenty-four 
cubic feet of water delivered at Lone Tree channel, the farmers digging their 
own two ditch branches towards Kingsburg. Conveyance was made in 
1874, and the main canal was meanwhile enlarged and by 1876 extended 
through Easterby rancho and west through Central Colony to land in T. 15 
S., R. 19 E. 

Thus much for the first efforts at irrigation on any scale. The Fresno 
Canal and Irrigation Company, whose maingate was completed in 1872 and 
parent organization of the present system, was organized by M. J. Church 
with Easterby, F. Roeding and W. S. Chapman as associates. No one man 
has contributed a more important or integral chapter to the industrial his- 
tory of the county than has M. J. Church, or as the bequest stated wielded 
a greater beneficial influence for the county than he. He cannot be robbed 
of this due. 

It was in 1868 that he came to Fresno with a thirteen-year-old son from 
Napa and a band of 2,000 sheep in search of pasturage, after selling out his 
business as a wheelwright and farrier. He located here on government land, 
three miles northeast of Centerville, intending to make a home, and in 
preparation erected cabin and corral. At ooce the stockmen began to harry 
him. Hostile demonstration preceded denunciation as a trespasser with 
warning to move off. The moving spirit in this inhospitable reception was 
one "Yank" Hazelton. Upon a second demonstration with accompanying 
covert threats, he was given a definite time when to make his departure, 
and in his absence to accelerate his leave taking cabin and corral were torn 
down, the horses turned loose after having had the hobbles removed and 
the winter's supply of provisions and the wheat seed eaten up by a driven 
in band of hogs. One month later, he took up with Easterby in the history 
accelerating demonstration of the necessity of irrigation to produce the fullest 
crops. 

The subject of irrigation now fully possessed him. He made survey 
and ascertained that by connecting the dry channel of Fancher Creek with 
the Kings about 1,000 feet of water could be conveyed on the plains sixteen 
miles to Easterby's located four sections. He secured appointment as a 
deputy land agent to locate settlers as well for neighbors as protectors 
against the cattlemen, recruiting among friends and acquaintances over 200 
such settlers. Selling his sheep, he gave himself up wholly to his newly found 
task and prosecuted the work of channel digging with the contracted for 
labor aid of the new comers. All along the line of the canal and of Fancher 
Creek wheat crops were put in, this alternating canal and field work arous- 
ing only the more the hostility and ire of the stockmen, who drove in their 
herds at night to eat up the young wheat and so dishearten the settlers and 
force them to pack up and leave. 

Easterby and Church were personally assaulted at Centerville by 
William Caldwell to bring on a conflict or show of arms as a pretext for 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 183 

a shooting in self defense and thus end the irritating twin irrigation and set- 
tlement projects. The insults were borne with, Init a money and water 
right compromise of the disputed right of way was arranged by Easterby. 
Work on the canal progressed with two feeders out of the river, joining 
about a mile and a half on the plains, the canal 100 feet wide and six deep 
to Fancher Creek. The demonstration of the value of the plains soil when 
irrigation was applied proved successful. 

The No-fence law agitation was on now. The farmers were powerless 
as yet because outnumbered at the polls. They put in a second crop and 
trouble was experienced with the headgates of the feeders of the canal. 
A large opening into the river was made at another point, but of same 
size as the canal with a dam across the stream, and a strong headgate 
and supply ditches were opened from the main canal. 

CHURCH'S LIFE PLOTTED AGAINST 

Consternation had seized the men of cattle and sheep. The railroad was 
taking practical shape and upon Church fell all tlie animosity for his activity 
in fostering irrigation and wheat farming, the herding legislation and the 
projected railroad. Three plots to take his life were divulged to him by two 
members of the conspiracy, neither knowing of the other's confession. Their 
story agreed that William Glenn of Centerville was to shoot him down in 
Jacob's store after spitting tobacco juice into his eye in provocation. Church 
having been forewarned evaded by a stratagem a meeting with Glenn. ( )n 
another occasion sand was flung into his face, a blow on nose and in 
face drew blood and he was viciously kicked at to hasten his exit from the 
store, followed by Dutch-couraged armed ruffians but escaped to the head- 
gate camp for the protection of the laboring men who took up arms to repel 
any assault. 

Experiences such as these marked the progress of the development of 
irrigation, but it had no deterring effect on the man, nor on the settling of 
the country under the impulse of the No-fence law, the coming of the iron 
horse and the extension of the branch canals to the new farms. By the year 
1876, M. J. Church had also for himself developed a valuable property and 
secured a competency. Riparian right claimants harassed him sorely with 
suits, asserting first right to the water for stock, and he defended more 
than 200 such actions. He was quoted as saying that "the cost of defending 
these numerous trumped up suits has by far exceeded the entire expense of 
constructing all the canals." During this long continued legal warfare, the 
work on the main and lateral canals and the distributing ditches did not 
cease. One thousand miles was their aggregate length, when in 1886 sale 
was made of a controlling interest in the canal property to Dr. E. B. Perrin 
with whom were associated the seller, Robert Perrin, T. De Witt Cuyler 
and W. H. Ingels. In the end, the property passed into the hands of British 
capital which is now in ownership. 

Church, very naturally, became largely interested in land operations. In 
1875 he placed on the market the Church Colony of a full section ; in 1883 
he took over the Bank of California tract of eleven sections, irrigated, sub- 
divided and sold off in small farms ; the Houghton tract, also of eleven sec- 
tions, in which he had a third interest was also brought under irrigation ; 
likewise Fresno Colony for which he received a half interest. Besides,' he 
erected in 1878 and conducted for five years the Champion grist mill at N 
and Fresno Streets, an enterprise that in later years was enlarged and is 
now one in the chain of Sperry's flour mills. He it was that fostered the 
organization of the Adventists' Church, donating land and making deed of 
gift of the auditorium building. He also made donation of five acres for a 
public cemetery, making it possible for every church and lodge that chose 
to provide itself with a burial plot. Politically, he was one of the handful 



184 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

that organized the first Republican County Committee, and he was the first 
delegate sent from this county to a state Republican convention. 

As regards his irrigation work, it may be said that the system in prac- 
tice here is substantially the same in detail as his pioneer plan and that his 
ideas have been followed in the other large similar undertakings of later 
date. Never but once did he have to pay for right of way, and that was 
through 160 acres when he first tapped the Kings. Even in that bit of sharp 
practice, he evaded in large part by condemnation proceedings. 

The channel of the San Joaquin is at places from seventy-five to 200 
feet below the level of the flanking rolling lands, hence making it more dif^- 
cult to draw water from it for irrigation. The Kings rises as high in the 
Sierras, drains a great area in its passage to the plains, is not navigable and 
has no tributaries. Its drainage area is 1,855 square miles. Its general course 
is in a southwest direction with few abrupt turns. From foothills to Tulare 
Lake, sixty-two miles, it has as a perennial tributary Wahtoke Creek only. 
As with all Sierra headed streams, it has two annual high water periods. 
The first, usually in December and continuing through January, is caused 
by the winter rains. The other begins late in May after the rains, and con- 
tinues through June and part of July, caused by the melting of the snow 
and is of longer duration than the winter rise. After this the stream falls 
to the low water stage. The time when water is in greatest demand is for- 
tunately during the high water periods. The estimate has been made that 
the Kings pours into the valley from January to July sufficient water to 
irrigate more than a million acres. 

The largest part of the irrigated land of the state lies in the southern 
portion of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valleys and in the northern 
section of California. In twenty-four of the fifty-eight counties of the state 
more than one-half of the farms are irrigated. Imperial leads with ninety- 
four and six-tenths percent, of farms irrigated, and Inyo comes next with 
ninety-three and two-tenths. In 1900 and 1910 Fresno reported the largest 
irrigated area, 283,737 and 402,318 respectively. Tulare irrigated 265,404 
acres in 1910 and five other counties each exceeded 100,000. Existing enter- 
prises in 1910 were preparing to supply water to irrigate 3,619,378 acres, or 
955.274 more than were watered the year before. The acreage included in 
projects exceeded by 2,826,256 acres the 1909 irrigated acreage, or more 
than twice the acreage brought under water in the decade. 

IRRIGATION ENTERPRISES 

California irrigation enterprises — federal and state — cover 2,664,104 
acres — the public districts 173,793, the cooperative 770,020, the commercial 
746,265 and the individual or partnership 961,136. In California, wells sup- 
ply much more land with water than in any other state. Of the total 
2,664,104 acres irrigated 350,723 were from wells — 2,361 flowing wells irri- 
gating 74,218 acres. The majority of these are in southern California and in 
the San Joaquin Valley. The 10,724 wells irrigated 276,505 acres in two 
groups of counties. The cost of irrigation enterprises, including only con- 
struction of works and acquisition of rights, is reported to have been: 
Year. Total. Acre Average. 

1900 - $19,181,610 13.27 

1910 - 72,580.030 20.05 

Of the irrigated orchard fruits, Fresno has 31.9 percent, of the irrigated 
crop acreage of the state, and of grapes 62.6. Of the total irrigated acreage 
of fruit trees and vines not bearing in 1909 (50,031), Fresno had 36.1 percent. 
The state had 88,197 farms in 1910 against 72,542 in 1900; irrigated 39,352 as 
against 25,675 ; respective percentage increases 21.6 and 53.3. 

The only irrigation district in the county operating under the Wright act 
of 1887 (amended in 1897) is the Alta of Reedley and operating in Fresno, 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 185 

Tulare and Kings Counties. Tlie district covers 130,000 acres extending from 
the east and south bank of the Kings to the Sierra foothills. It was organ- 
ized in July, 1888, and the 1876 canal system was bought to supply the 
water. It did not have an early right on the Kings. Water is cut off annually 
in July, but is turned on again in October and November by agreement with 
the earlier appropriators. About 80,000 acres are irrigated, principally 
around Reedley and Dinuba. Of commercial systems there are three. The 
Fresno and Consolidated, are two, which though kept separate are operated 
by the same investors. They cover practically all the irrigated lands in the 
county. Their points of diversion are on the west bank of the Kings and 
close to where it enters upon the plains. The Consolidated includes the 
Fowler Switch, and Centerville and Kingsburg Canals, besides a majority 
of the Emigrant Canal, the latter diverting on the lower Kings, six miles 
west of Kingsburg, to irrigate Laguna de Tache rancho lands, and all Brit- 
ish capitalized enterprises. The Consolidated has later priorities on the river 
with flow cut ofif for a time in August so that its rights are not as valuable 
as the Fresno's. For maintenance of canals, the Fresno makes an annual 
charge of sixty-two and one-half cents and the Consolidated of seventy-five 
cents per acre. No measurements are made to users, but each irrigator 
takes what he needs according to the water rights held. Considering its 
area, the district is the most highly developed in the state. 

The San Joaquin and Kings River Canal and Irrigation Company diverts 
from the west bank of the San Joaquin, north of the town of ^lendota. It 
is the oldest canal in the county, organized in February, 1871. The country 
tributary to it extends for seventy miles along the west bank of the stream 
in Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus Counties. Miller & Lux, who are the 
owners, have riparian rights on the river, and their own lands are largely 
included in the system. About 340,000 acres are irrigable from this system, 
though only aljout one-third is served, of which 40,000 are in private owner- 
ship, purchasing water from the company. No water rights are sold. The 
lands under this system include a large area of swamp and overflow. 

Central California has 9,665,000 acres in irrigation zones fit for agricul- 
ture, 1,959,000 irrigated and 4,300.000 ultimately to be. The San Joaquin 
Valley has 6,530,000 acres of agricultural land, l',046,000 of them plains and 
1,728,975 irrigated. Fresno County had at the last census 6,245 farms (ex- 
ceeded by only one other California county), 5,310 irrigated (no other 
county had so many), 402,318 acres irrigated, 560,326 susceptible of irriga- 
tion and 633.652 embraced in projects. Cost of enterprises up to July, 1910, 
was $1,898,460; average acre cost of capable irrigation $3.39. Main ditches 
numbered 254 of 831 miles; laterals 688 of 1,354 miles; three flowing and 
855 pumped wells. 

Water users in the Fresno district of the irrigation zone pay less than 
in any other district in the state — five dollars for water right location and 
in most cases sixty-two and one-half cents for water delivery per acre. In 
this district there are approximately 242,000 acres and 202,000 under water 
rights. The irrigation companies have 258 miles of canals and their prop- 
erty valuations including water rights are placed at $4,805,382 on which an 
option of $1,500,000 was olTered on its valuation appraisement, in a tentative 
popular district project to take over the consolidated system on expiration 
of the franchise. The franchise of the principal company will expire by limi- 
tation in 1925 and looking to the future a great project is under way, known 
as the Pine Flat reservoir, the magnitude of which rivals the Roosevelt dam. 
It involves a $9,000,000 reservoir located on the Kings River with the dam 
twenty-five miles from the city. The horseshoe wall 300 feet high, making an 
impounded body of water 600,000-acre feet in all, fourteen miles long and 
averaging one-half to two miles in width. 

The project contemplates irrigating in Fresno, Kings and Tulare Coun- 
ties 600,000 acres and developing power to irrigate 400.000 more by pumping. 



186 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

besides reclaiming alkali land and making it all productive. This gigantic 
undertaking is one of the largest construction enterprises ever contemplated 
in the state. One report is that in the event of its construction the Sanger 
Lumber Company would move its mills to the head of the reservoir from 
Hume. It is also stated that the construction of the reservoir will result 
in time in the cementing of all district canals. 

The Madera Irrigation District covering lands in that county and in 
Fresno also is another great surplus water impounding enterprise, involving 
construction of an immense dam on the San Joaquin. It has passed the or- 
ganization stage. When its great lake in the gorge of the river is a fact, no 
more the village site of Millerton and its last relic in the old courthouse and 
no more the Fort Miller site with its old buildings will be on the surface 
of the earth. This region about which centers so much of Fresno's earliest 
history will be submerged hundreds of feet. 

The transformation that irrigation wrought in Fresno County was truly 
marvelous, placing it in its leading position as an irrigation, horticultural 
and viticultural region. Nordhofif wrote his book, already referred to, after 
a first visit to California in 1872. He revised it nine years later upon a sec- 
ond visit and he draws the contrast. He records "such great and often start- 
ling efifects" were produced during the interim by the introduced new cul- 
tures and methods that while all that he had foretold had been realized and 
more too, great tracts, which had the appearance of sterile desert in 1872, 
were literally "blossoming as the rose." He observed that "the extension 
of irrigation has not merely enabled farmers to plant and sow where nine 
years before sheep found only a scanty living, but in the mild climate of 
California trees and shrubs have grown so rapidly that to his amazement 
he beheld many places, which on his first visit were bare and apparently 
sterile plains, presenting then the appearance already of old settled farming 
tracts," besides "prosperous homes and farmsteads where nine and eight 
years before he drove or rode fifty or 100 miles without seeing a tree or 
house." 

Such is the transformation brought about by water, as portrayed by one 
who beheld the "before and after." There is a material side shown in figures 
which was as remarkable as it was rapid in the development and settling up 
of the county on a permanent basis. A few figures of the first decade cover- 
ing this fourth era in the county ushered in about 1880 will suffice : 

Acres Assessed 

1880 1,631,972 

1885 1,803,331 

1890 2,108,668 

Value of Property 

1880 $ 6.028.960 

1885 14,430,487 

1890 35,600.640 

Assessed Taxes 

1880 $ 120,865.60 

1885 245,318.28 

1890 469,081.28 

What is the measure of due of those, who boldly pioneered and patiently 
developed and worked out the experimental ideas with and growing out of 
irrigation, if the gratitude of a world is owing him "who makes two blades of 
grass grow where one grew before" ? 



HISTORY OF FRESNO ■ COUNTY 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

Fresno is the Center of the Sun-dried Raisin Industry. Spain 
AS the Leader for Centuries Outdistanced in 1892. Ton- 
nage and Acreage Have Made Great Gains. Vineyards 
Have Not Lost in Productiveness. Stabilization of Prices. 
California Acreage the Largest in the World. First 
Raisin Exhibit at 1863 State Fair. Seeded Raisin a Fresno 
Creation. Notable First A^ixeyards and Packers. 

The raisin industry of America is centered in Fresno County, thougli the 
raisin is produced in other parts of California. Exceptional advantages in 
climate and soil have made the raisin a specialty of this region. It has aided 
more to make the county knov^m than any one other product. The county 
is known as "The Raisin Center" : the city as "The Raisin City." Yet the 
industry represents only about one-tenth of the total income, so varied and 
many are the resources. 

Fresno was once Spain's principal competitor. In 1892 the home crop 
first equaled Spain's. The difference has increased steadily, and today 
Fresno produces double the quantity of Spain, which held the lead for cen- 
turies. A normal crop ranges between 160 to 170 million pounds, often ex- 
ceeded as with 182 millions in 1914 and about 256 millions the year after. 
Less than a dozen of the state's fifty-eight counties produce raisins. Fres- 
no's raisin grape acreage of over 150,000 is b}^ far the largest in the world. 
Kings and Tulare counties are the next largest producers, but their com- 
bined crops do not exceed one-fifth of an annual normal Fresno crop. 

When one talks raisins, the subject is Fresno. The raisin acreage and 
tonnage have both made great gains in the last few years. The crop of 1917 
was estimated at 137,500 tons. The tonnage was 132,000 against 125,000 for 
the year before. The prediction is that tonnage and acreage will reach 200,- 
000 in a year or two. The acreage in 1917 was estimated at 165,000 but with 
unlisted holdings and yearlings and two-year-old vines the total is well above 
the figure. 

Owing to improved methods of culture, average production of bearing 
vineyards has considerably risen, and yet due to the great acreage of young 
vines not in bearing the average for the whole has not raised. Fruit men 
estimate the total muscat crop of the state at 100,000, the Thompson seedless 
at 43,000, the Sultanas 8,500, Feherzagos, etc., at 6,000, all largely handled by 
the association. The largest increase has been in Thompson's and the pros- 
pects for the year 1918 are for an increase in that variety. Planting in 1917 
was about 10,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley and perhaps 8,000, largely 
seedless, in the north. The increase has not been large in the last three 
years. That of 1916 was probably of 15,000 acres. The biggest and most 
numerous plantings were of Thompson's. 

The vineyards seem to have lost little or nothing in their productivity. 
The deterioration of the old ones, when given anything like proper care, is 
not nearly so rapid as the development of young vinej'ards, and as a con- 
sequence of this and of better culture methods and pruning, there has re- 
sulted, over large areas, a steady increase of crops, in remarkable contrast to 
the years before. In 1903 for the first time the crop reached 60,000 tons. 



188 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

It fell off then and in 1907 reached 75,000 tons. The total productions for 
the decade have been estimated from careful figures kept b}' the California 
Fruit Grower to have been : 

1907 75,000 tons 

1908 65,000 

1909 70,000 

1910 62,500 

1911 65,000 

1912 95,000 

1913 - 65,000 

1914 98,000 

1915 125,000 

1916 132,000 

1917 157,500 

Since the formation five years ago of the growers' association steady in- 
crease in crops and improvement in conditions of the grower have resulted 
in the raisin district of Fresno. The increase in tonnage has demanded new 
markets and these have been developed. With a normal season, it is likely the 
tonnage will become even larger in 1918 and the years to come. The California 
Associated Raisin Company has set the mark at a high percentage to retain 
control when the big crops are produced and to keep up the standard of pro- 
duction for the benefit of producer and consumer. 

The prices of raisins have been stabilized and doubled over those that pre- 
vailed before the company was established. Even under the old contract 
which made compromises with and concessions to the packers and the 
brokers, the growers had practical control of the situation and the ruinous 
career of speculation with two-cent a pound raisins and mortgages as nat- 
ural consequences was stopped and the industry has been placed on a finan- 
cial basis. Instead of pulling up vines, vineyards have been made to produce 
and the immense crops brought in millions to the growers. The 1917 crop 
will by the time the last payment is made have brought $15,000,000. 

In 1872 Californians produced in limited quantity an article called "dried 
grapes." It was sold in mining camps and among the poor as a cheap sub- 
stitute for raisins. They were usually mission grapes, but did not keep, 
nor bear transportation to long distances, were not cured soundly, and any- 
how were not raisins. The product was of no commercial importance. Nord- 
hoft" predicted that unless for some reason not then apparent it receives a 
check, California would in ten years (1892) supply a large part of the raisins 
of commerce. At the time of his book revision, it was one of the most prom- 
ising and important of the then comparatively recently introduced industries 
of the state. 

The California State Board of Agriculture reported in 1912 that "one 
of the largest and most important branches of fruit growing is the cultiva- 
tion of the raisin grape, the acreage in which is now by far the largest in 
the world." It credits the introduction of the raisin vine into California in 
1851 to Agostin Haraszthy of San Diego from muscatel vines from seeds of 
Malaga raisins. In March, 1852, he imported the Alexandria muscatel from 
Malaga in Spain, and ten years later on a visit in September, 1861, selected 
cuttings of the Gordo Blanca, afterwards grown and propagated in his San 
Diego vineyard. Yet another importation of the Alexandria muscatel was 
that in 1855 by A. Delmas, planted near San Jose. G. G. Briggs of Davis- 
ville, Cal., was still another importer of muscatel grape vines from Spain. 

Raisins were produced first on a considerable scale in the southern part 
of the state, but they found it more profitable there to ship as table grapes 
or set out vineyards to wine grapes. Riverside entered the field in 1873 
when John W. North, the founder of the colony that bore his name, first 
planted the Alexandria muscat, though not until three years later did grape 
growing become general in that district. In 1873 also, R. G. Clark planted 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 189 

the same variety in EI Cajon \'alley in San Diego County, but the vine- 
yards there were not planted until 1884-86. MacPherson Brothers at one 
time the largest growers and packers in the state, planted raisin grapes in 
Orange County about 1875-76. San Bernardino and Los Angeles produced 
raisins in former years, but the Anaheim vine disease ravaged thousands of 
acres between 1884-89, growers lost heart and citrus fruit in large part 
replaced the vine. It was in 1876 that W. S. Chapman, whose name is so 
prominently identified with the farming era of Fresno, imported Spanish 
muscat vines for Central California Colony. They did not differ materially 
from those already growing in the county. 

Positive proof is lacking as to who produced the first California raisins. 
According to the California State Agricultural Society, an exhibit was made 
by Dr. J. Strentzel at the 1863 state fair. Its report notes that there were 
two features "which rendered it remarkable — these were dried prunes and 
raisins." The first successful vineyards to perfect raisin culture in the state 
were those planted by G. G. Briggs at Davisville and by R. B. Blowers of 
Woodland, also in Yolo County, the first mainly of Alexandria muscatels, 
the other of Gordo Blanca. Both produced raisins as early as 1867, but not 
until 1873 were any placed on the market in quantity. Blowers was in 1882 
one of the largest single producers in the state. His advice and methods 
were followed in large part by Fresno pioneer growers. About 1887 Fresno 
appears to have shipped a considerable quantity for the first time, and 
market reports noted that "Fresno raisins of excellent quality are now on 
the market, especially from the Butler and Forsyth vineyards." 

The varieties of raisin grapes are few in number. The seedless Sul- 
tana grown extensively near Smyrna in Asia Minor was first brought to 
California by Haraszthy in 1861. Thompson's seedless was named for W. 
Thompson Sr. of Yuba City by the Sutter County Horticultural Society. 
He procured the cuttings in 1878 from Erlanger & Barry of Rochester, N. 
Y., who described them as "a grape from Constantinople, named Lady de 
Coverly." The names of the Hungarian Haraszthy and of his son, Arpad, 
are inseparably linked with the California grape and wine industries. The 
white Muscat of Alexandria and the Muscatel Gordo Blanca are the raisin 
grapes of California as they are of Spain. The Gordo Blanca is considered 
by many the most delicious California grown table grape. 

Until the fall of 1881, the few that cultivated the raisin grape also 
packed their raisins. The process is not difficult and requires no complicated 
or costly devices. The sun is the best dryer and in this regard Fresno is 
liberally endowed. Artificial drying, which has in wet seasons been re- 
sorted to, is found to produce too often a raisin that is shrivelled and over- 
cooked, dry and hard. When the California sun-dried raisin was first shipped 
in quantity to the eastern market is not recorded. Efforts along this line 
by the pioneers were individual ventures, but it is recorded that by Novem- 
ber, 1875, New York had received 6,000 twenty-two-pound boxes. A con- 
siderable quantity was shipped about 1888. The growth of the industry was 
remarkable, though a slow process for the first years. In 1879 the crop 
first exceeded one million pounds. In 1885 it was over nine millions and 
next year it jumped to fourteen millions, until with steady increases it 
reached in 1912 the enormous total of 140 millions. 

SPANISH COMPETITION OUTSTRIPPED 

Raisins were at first principally produced in the San Bernardino Valley, 
but the industry gradually spread northward. About 1887 California raisins 
began to be in demand in the eastern states, and by 1892 the United States 
Department of Agriculture reported that the western supply source was 



190 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

reducing the foreign imports by twenty percent. As showing how Cahfor- 
nia has outstripped her Spanish rival, the following figures tell a tale : 

Year. Spain. California. 

1904 25,000 40,000 

1906 15,800 45,000 

1909 24,000 70,000 

1912 - 12.000 85,000 

1913 18,500 65,000 

1914 13,500 94,000 

1915 10,500 128,000 

The Spanish crop is given in long and the Californian in short tons. \"ic- 
toria and South Australia produce raisins and currants, but they are disposed 
of in home consumption. 

The raisin industry is an asset the direct outgrowth of irrigation. Re- 
markable as its development has been, the record is exceeded by that of 
the seeded raisin industry and the marketing of that popular form of the 
sun-dried grape after mechanical elimination of the seeds. This business 
originated in Fresno County, and its twenty years' increase has been won- 
derful. The following returns are from the state Board of Agriculture's 
report on the output: 

1896—700 tons, 1899—12,000, 1905—21,000, 1910—31,500, 1912—45,000, 
1913_49,000, 1914—35,000. 1915—50,000. 

The seeding machine was the basic creation of the late George E. Pettit 
as a poor and struggling inventor in New York, taken up and put to prac- 
tical use by the late William Forsyth, one of the leading pioneer raisin 
growers, whom it enriched, while Pettit was too poor even at one time to 
prosecute the litigation to enforce his rights and claims as the inventor. 
Forsyth introduced to the public the seeded raisin. When first marketed, 
it was with difficulty that about twenty tons were disposed of. The seeded 
or "stoned" raisin has a reputation of its own. It has become the most 
important branch of the raisin industry. The waste from seeding and cap- 
stemming is from ten to twelve per cent. Formerly the seed was burned as 
fuel : now it is used as a by-product from which alcohol and various other 
products are chemically produced. 

GROWTH OF RAISIN INDUSTRY 

The growth of the raisin industry was a slow one, because it was in a 
new experimental field, many difficulties in cultivation and in marketing had 
to be overcome and lessons learned with time in the hard school of experi- 
ence. The early successes gave encouragement to persevere though, and 
once established there were not lacking those who claimed the credit for 
having fathered it. The credit for producing the first Fresno raisin may, 
however, be safely awarded to T. F. Eisen, a pioneer of 1873 in grape grow- 
ing. His production was the result of chance rather than of deliberate de- 
sign, according to popular tradition. 

It was in the very hot year of 1877 and before the Muscats were picked 
that a considerable portion of the grapes dried on the vines and, to save 
them, were treated as raisins, stemmed, packed in boxes and sent to San 
Francisco for sale by fancy grocers, who exhibited them in the show win- 
dows as a Peruvian importation. Inquiries were made and revealed that 
they were a Fresno product of the Eisen vineyard. This advertisement was 
the foundation of Fresno's reputation for raisins. It served to attract others 
to enter the field. In 1876 W. S. Chapman imported his Spanish Muscatels 
for Central California Colony. That same year T. C. White planted the 
Raisina vineyard with rootings from Blower's Woodland vineyard. In 1877 
and 1878 the Hedgerow was set to vines: in 1879 the A. B. Butler vineyard, 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 191 

then one of the largest for raisins in the state, and the J- T. Goodman and 
William Forsj'th vineyards followed about 1881-82. These were early curi- 
osities in a way and continued as show places for interested visitors for 
years. They were the pioneer, large vineyards. 

The Hedgerow was one of the noted earliest successes, located by the 
late Miss M. F. Austin on Elm Avenue, about three miles south of the city 
and comprising lOO acres — seventy-four in vines and nineteen in orchard. 
The Raisina was equally as notable. What made the Hedgerow specially 
notable was the fact that it was established and conducted by ladies. Miss 
Austin was a New England teacher, who came to California in 1864, was a 
teacher of note in private schools in San Francisco, but failing in health in 
1878 came to Fresno to enter upon a new field of activity. The vineyard 
derived its name from its varied hedge enclosure. She was one of the first 
to appreciate the possibilities of raisin culture, and to her efforts and pioneer 
experiences the county owes much. Man}^ an object lesson did she teach. 

With her were associated the Misses Lucy H. Hatch, E. A. Cleveland 
and J. B. Short, all teachers, who pooling their savings bought the 100 
acres in 1876 from Chapman in his Central Colony and expended much 
money in experimental plantings. Miss Austin came to the vineyard in 1878 
to reside. Miss Hatch was her assistant, coming here after January, 1879. 
As trees failed in the first experiments, they took up viticulture. Their 
first raisin pack was in 1878 of thirty boxes under the Austin brand: in 1879 
they put up 300 boxes and in 1886 7,500. Packing was then given up and 
owing to the failing health of Miss Austin thev afterwards sold the raisins 
to packers in the sweat boxes and Miss Hatch became the active manager. 
The Hedgerow was a practical object lesson of what intelligent and perse- 
vering efforts can bring about. 

The eighty-acre Raisina was planted for the lady that became Mrs. T. C. 
White, nee Fink, and for her sister. W^hite enlarged the original muscatel 
planting and was one of the very first to pack raisins commercially, acquir- 
ing from Blowers of Yolo the practical knowledge of cultivation and proc- 
esses. His experiences and knowledge aided much in giving the industry a 
start. The home market at first readily absorbed the local output, but when 
it became too large for the limited consumption a period of temporary stag- 
nation followed that had to be overcome by opening an eastern market. 
This was another tribulation that attended the infant industry. But a proni- 
inent feature of the county, borrowed from the south, was introduced at 
this period in the colony system of settlement to add to the wealth, pros- 
perity and upbuilding. These surrounded Fresno city on all sides and grew 
into each other with the entire country merged into one cordon of farming 
settlements of fifty, twenty and ten-acre parcels. Central Colony was the 
first laid out in 1874, embracing six sections of land southwest of town and 
sold in small tracts with twenty acres as the average. Taken as a type, it 
afifords contrast between the wheat growing and horticultural eras. During 
the "dry farming" period, this land yielded an annual return of not to exceed 
$35,000 and only one family had its home on the 3.840 acres. Settled as a 
colony, the cash return was' from $300,000 to $400,000, 150 families had com- 
fortable homes and most of them enjoyed competencies. 

The Butler vineyard of over 600 acres was famous in its day, yielding 
not less than 110,000 twenty-pound boxes and considerably more ^n good 
years at a time when raisins averaged one dollar and seventy-five cents to 
two dollars and twenty-five cents a box. The Forsyth of 160 acres was a 
model property with a product of upward of 40,000 twenty-pound boxes and 
such a well established reputation for pack that output was engaged in ad- 
vance at fancy terms. Despite all setbacks and obstacles, raisin growing ex- 
tended in all directions around the city for miles until wherever water was 
procurable the big and small vineyard flourished. Shipments increased an- 
nually and to cite 1890 as a precedent establishing year the total shipment 



192 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

was 21,691,618 pounds, or about 1.084,580 twenty-pound boxes for the in- 
dustry fostered by tariff protection, one feature at least on wiiich Demo- 
crats were agreed with Republicans. That shipment was distributed as 
follows as regards local output : 

District. Pounds. 

Fresno 15,430,313 

Malaga 3,459,240 

Fowler 2,178,438 

Selma 469,746 

Madera 112,710 

Borden 73,226 

Kingsburg 67,945 

The subject of the California raisin industry is a large one. Its various 
sidelights have been extensively treated. Almost every large vineyard has its 
particular history. Where there are so many only general features can be 
alluded to in a comprehensive history. A list of the large vineyards would 
mount into the hundreds. Passing reference can only be made to the more 
notable as the Hedgerow (Austin), Raisina f White), Butler, Minnewawa 
(Eshelman), Oothout, Forsyth, Gartenlaub, Kearney, Talequah (Baker), 
Paragon (Nevills), besides many others and all those conducted as corporate 
enterprises. Then there are the wine grape vineyards, notably the Eisen, Bar- 
ton, Eggers, Tarpey, Malter, Mattel, Great Western, Las Palmas, the Califor- 
nia Wine Association, a letter combination of whose title evolved the name of 
"Calwa" for the distillery, revenue warehousing and shipping point and the 
Swiss Italian Colony. 

CHAPTER XXXIV 

Raisin Industry is the Financial Barometer of the Commu- 
NiTv's Prosperity. Twenty Years Ago, Its Outlook Was Not 
Encouraging. Many Were the Efforts at Cooperative 
Control of the Output. Another Crisis Was Faced at the 
Close of the Year 1917. Spectacular Campaign is Staged 
for New Contracts. Percentage of Control the Greatest 
Ever Secured. Felicitations Over the Victory. Prosper- 
ity Underwritten for Six Years. 

On the subject of the raisin, the Fresno grower takes himself and the 
industry seriously. The industry is regarded as typical and dominant of the 
region and the financial barometer of the community's prosperity. The close 
of the year 1917 and the opening weeks of 1918 mark an epoch in that in- 
dustry. It was a period more exciting and spectacular than any in its his- 
tory with the efforts to sign up new contracts with the association, com- 
parable in strenuousness and scope with the Liberty bond subscriptions and 
other "drives" of the war times. 

It is not the purpose to follow the complicated history nor the efforts 
of the various cooperative raisin associations under the Kearney and suc- 
ceeding regimes, nor of the industry's troublous times without association 
control endeavor covering the 1908-12 period. Nor is it the purpose to draw 
invidious comparisons, but as has been stated the defunct association "a 
good thing while it lasted" unfortunately "had within itself the seeds of its 
own dissolution," its end when it came was inevitable and looked for, "it 
lived its life in turmoil and it paid the price of politics for its intermittent 
business success." The existing association conducted under different busi- 
ness policies and methods has secured confidence and accomplished all that 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 193 

the old did and strived for, and more too, and has been establislied in per- 
manency as the saving and fostering organization of the raisin industry of 
Central California. 

The California Associated in its larger and more successful field of 
operations is after all following up on other lines the plans and policies con- 
ceived by Kearney whose misfortune was in the application of them. He 
was possibly as the theorist ahead of the day and the times with his ideas 
on associated cooperation to place every stage of the industry in the control 
of the growers. The things accomplished by the California Associated have 
not been original in the conception but in the carrying out. At the very first 
of the Kearney movements there were two proposals made. One was a busi- 
ness stock company or an organization under a cooperative form of asso- 
ciation in which every member had equal voice. It became evident that the 
latter form was unbusinesslike but it was also recognized that it was the 
only one acceptable then. 

Experience next demonstrated that a twelve months was too brief a 
period of organization but evident was it also that this was the best that 
could be hoped for. The industry would have to become sufficient unto it- 
self. Growers must do their own packing, their own advertising, their own 
selling, Kearney went so far as to demand that the growers do their own 
financing. These were things for the future. Lack of faith in each other 
was the great weakness in these early eiTorts of the growers to come and 
stay together. 

The average price of raisins to the producer, fluctuating as manipulated 
by the speculating commercial packer, was at one time and for ten years 
or more seventy dollars a ton. With associated cooperation and control, 
marketing conditions were improved and cheapened, consumption increased 
and prices enhanced with the result of seventy-seven dollars and fifty cents 
per ton for Muscats, about eighty-five dollars for Sultanas, and about ninety- 
five for Thompson's Seedless. Under ordinary conditions there is a profit 
to the grower in selling at three cents a pound. Yet a time was when rais- 
ins found no market, growers fed them to the chickens, to the hogs, the 
horses and the cattle and vineyards were uprooted so discouraging was the 
outlook. As indicative of the spirit of the times and the apparent future 
hopelessness of the industry may be reproduced this interesting publication 
of twenty years ago: 

"P. P. Brooks, living eight miles west of Fresno on Kearney 
Avenue is feeding raisins successfully. He said to a Republican re- 
porter : 

'Barley is worth thirty dollars a ton and raisins from eighteen 
dollars to thirty dollars. It is difficult to sell good raisins for over 
twenty dollars a ton. Some days ago I concluded to use raisins as 
horse feed instead of grain. As an experiment I bought an old horse 
and fed the animal twelve pounds of raisins a day. The nag was worn 
out and poor, but in a short time he began to fatten and grow sleek. 
The food seemed very nourishing and the horse became plump and 
full of hfe. I sold the animal back to the original owner for thirty 
dollars — three times what I paid for him. Twelve pounds of raisins 
a day is equal to twenty pounds of barley. At the present price of 
grain this would make a food value of raisins of about sixty dollars 
a ton, leaving a profit of forty-two dollars a ton over the actual sell- 
ing price of eighteen dollars. Raisins also make good cattle and hog 
food, but I have not experimented much in that line. Horses seem 
to relish the raisins and keep in good condition while being worked. 
Several of my neighbors will follow my example and use raisins for 
stock feed. This is a good way to get rid of the surplus in the 
hands of the farmers.' " 



194 HISTORY OF FRESXO COUXTY 

The future of the industry hung trembling in the balance. Various plans 
were considered to organize the growers for mutual protection and benefit. 
The pioneer combination after a long campaign of agitation was The Cali- 
fornia Raisin Growers' Association, the conception of the late M. Theo. 
Kearney, and founded in 1898. 

From 1889 until 1893 growers were enabled to average five cents a 
pound, but with the financial panic of the year 1893 prices fell again, and in 
1897 raisins were quoted as low as three-quarters of a cent per pound. They 
were even sold on commission at prices that often did not cover the shipping 
charges, and fortunate the shipper that did not find himself still in debt to 
the broker. Conditions were so unprofitable that many despaired, and it 
was estimated that in this county 20,000 acres of vines were uprooted. The 
lesson of the absolute necessity for organization had to be driven home by 
costly and bitter experience. For about six years the association was more 
or less of a success, though at no time had it ever a controlling percentage of 
the crop signed up, while as one result of its operations it "held up the um- 
brella" of benefit and protection for those who while not averse to accept 
benefits contributed nothing to bring them about but withheld their crops 
from the pool. 

Crucial difficulties arose late in the 1903 season owing to a fall in prices. 
Personal animosities were stirred up. directed for a time specially against 
Mr. Kearney as the president of the combine. Besides the directorate fell 
into the hands of men, some of whom did not measure in capacity up to 
the task before them. The association being unable to sell, man}'^ growers 
received no returns and in August, 1904, with only thirty percent, of the 
estimated acreage signed up contracts were surrendered to growers and 
shortly after the association passed into the hands of W. R. Williams as 
receiver and long litigation followed in liquidation. The largest crop was 
the one of 1903, the association packing 97,001,854 pounds. 

Such low prices resulted in 1904 that another effort at organization was 
made with M. F. Tarpey as the leader, elected as president, and the com- 
pany incorporated on May 6, 1905. Returns made to signed up growers 
averaged three cents a pound amounting to $1,205,546. Some 38,000 acres 
were signed up. Prejudice arose against cooperation. Growers did not sup- 
port the company for various reasons and it dissolved on ;\Iay 1. 1906. Years 
elapsed and a new and by far the strongest organization was established early 
in 1912 under the name of the California Associated Raisin Companv with 
one million dollars capitalization, adopting the basic plan worked out bv \\'. 
R. Nutting but elaborated upon in the light of experience. 

This association is a cooperative institution "that stands for construc- 
tion and not for manipulation," whose aim is to find as a sales agent a market 
for the grower by aiding the wholesaler to sell more raisins to the retailer 
and help the retailer to move raisins from his shelves to the ultimate con- 
sumer. The developed plan of cooperative efifort is not alone for a better 
marketing but to standardize the product, secure appreciation of distributor 
and consumer, and thus plan for the future, when increased tonnage will 
mean low prices unless demand has kept a step in advance of production 
at all times. 

In the closing statement to stockholders on the 1915 crop, Vice Presi- 
dent and ATanager James Madison congratulated them on having disposed 
at fairly remunerative prices of the largest crop of raisins that this state has 
ever produced. In fact, the prices obtained Ijy the company are as high, 
in his judgment, as they ever should be, if it is the desire to maintain the 
proper relation between consumption and production, and this the directors 
have always borne in mind as a vital factor in the continued success, so that 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 195 

raisin vineyards may be considered a safe and profitable investment. The 
financial statement as indicative of the vohime of business done shows: 

Gross receipts $11,853,930.89 

Packing and shipping 3,456,452.46 

Net sales - 8,396.578.43 

Cost of raisins $7,084,463.60 

Receiving, etc 224,226.50 7,313,690.10 

Amount due on final settlement $ 1,082,888.33 

TONS HANDLED 

Ton Rate 

on Final. Tons. 

Muscats - - 7.72 77,951 

Thompson's 29.67 10,589 

Sultanas 28.81 5,499 

Malagas 10.00 623 

Feherzagos _ 10.00 234 



94,896 



The 1916 crop was approximately 126,000 tons or 2,000 greater than that 
of 1915, according to the state viticultural commission. Thompson's seedless 
gained 100 per cent, with a yield of 32,000 tons. The Muscat yield was 
83,000 tons against 93,000 in 1915. Heavy rains caused the shortage. Accord- 
ing to Association President Wylie M. Gififen, the loss is the more notice- 
able, because it came on the eve of what promised to be one of the best years 
in the history of the industry. With the possible exception of the 1915 crop, 
that of 1916 was the largest in history, and with the high prices prevailing 
it looked like a banner year for the raisin growers, and every one dreamed 
dreams of the things that would be done as soon as the crop was oflf. 

The close of the year 1917, fourth of the Associated, marked it as the 
most successful cooperative producers' organization j-et undertaken in the 
state. Yet it faced a crisis. Contracts with growers expired with limitation. 
New ones had to be entered into to continue the association. A three months' 
campaign "drive" followed, the greatest and most sensational and spectacular 
in the history of the industry and that history has been a spectacular one. 
The county was kept at the fever heat of excitement until success was an- 
nounced through the press on the morning of February 1, 1918. The associa- 
tion was saved and given a life lease for six years. 

That campaign was reminiscent of the earlier days of raisin cooperative 
association enterprises when the "drive" was an annual afifair. Tuesday, 
January 29, was declared a business holiday for a last general efifort to 
save the industry from destruction, and over 400 committeemen, including 
merchants, bankers, professional and non professional men, assumed charge 
of one great auto caravan "drive" to penetrate every nook and a corner of a 
territory of 250 square miles surrounding the city. Stores and offices were 
closed and the day was given over to a canvass for contracts for the California 
Associated Raisin Company. 

Newspapers had been full for days and days with columns upon columns 
of appeals and reasons for coming to the association's rescue, nightly meet- 
ings had been held in the school districts, individuals were not lacking to 
induce signatures by means that were subject to criticism and acts of sabot- 
age were committed to coerce others into signing. The victory was hailed as 
remarkable in the annals of cooperative farm marketing. One week before 
defeat stared the growers in the face afterall the efforts made, loyal farmers. 



196 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

merchants, financiers, professional and laboring men had by the thousands 
labored wherever raisins are grown, had gone to the unsigned and reminded 
them that the unprecedented prosperity is a result of cooperative marketing 
and to stay out and kill the association meant the ruin of the grower and of 
the business man. 

The thousands that feared their contracts in escrow would be burned 
with a failure to sign up were relieved. The joy apparent in Fresno when the 
result was made known was shared wherever in the state raisins are grown 
in any quantity. Thousands who had worked voluntarily for success were 
repaid. President W. M. GifTen of the association notified the Fresno Clear- 
ing House Association that the crop contracts delivered with the notice 
with those previously delivered numbered 6.980, representing 131,530 acres 
in raisin vineyard. This acreage was well over the 123.000 minimum required 
bv the agreement with the signers to make them effective and request was 
made that the escrow contracts be delivered as soon as practical. 

Editorially one of the newspapers described the achievement in the fol- 
lowing language : 

"The result of the successful conclusion of the Associated Raisin Company 
campaign represents the biggest achievement of this state, possibly of the 
nation, and to look at it only from the material standpoint it underwrites 
the prosperity of the community for the next six years. It means sane market- 
ing conditions, good prices and extended markets to take care of the yearly 
increasing acreage. AVhen there is "money in raisins" it naturally means 
more planting, but the continuance of the national advertising will make 
the demand keep up with the supply." 

In this felicitation over the economic advantages, the social and spiritual 
were not overlooked. In fact the latter were regarded as the greater victory 
in that 7.000 men and women of the raisin belt are one in an economic 
brotherhood. Only in the perspective of twenty years or more was the feat of 
the three months viewed in its real magnitude and significance in the culmina- 
tion of a long apprentice period. The growers had learned a lesson and reduced 
to its fundamental basis it was a moral, perhaps a religious rather than an 
economic lesson, that the growers trust one another and faith has made 
them one. 

Six days before the end there was still lacking a 15.000 acreage. The 
minimum considered necessary to be signed up if the company \yas to con- 
tinue as a growers' concern was 125.000. The crop is between 150.000 and 
160.000 tons but within a few years will be increased to between 200,000 and 
225.000. For the next six years the average crop will in all probability be 
200,000 tons. There was needed eighty or eighty-five per cent, of it signed 
up. A difificulty of the campaign was that twenty per cent, of the growers 
could not be approached by solicitors. 

The acreage obtained was 131.350 and better than eighty-five per cent, of 
all the raisins grown in the state, the strongest control ever had. Under the 
new contract the starting point was the lowest, as nothing was lost then by 
transfer of places and every contract added to the percentage, whereas under 
the old the starting point was the highest and continually there was lost more 
through the place transfers than gained through the solicitors. While every 
effort was centered on the 125,000 acreage objective, this was not all that 
was accomplished. There are in the state scattered from Marysville to San 
Diego 10.000 growers and of this number 8.500 approximately signed the 
contract and there is not one that has a more favorable contract than another. 
Contracts were lost because of "arbitrary methods" pursued but the fact 
remains that no favor was shown in the taking of them. Not an option was 
stricken out. not a contract was taken that did not run with the land and 
not a promise was made to an individual that is contrary to the general policy 
applying to all. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 197 

A fine public spirit was manifested in the campaign and without excep- 
tion every community, newspaper, civic organization, ladies' club, growers' 
committee arid thousands of individual workers from every calling of life 
did their part. As it was said: "Even the packers in their frantic attempts 
to prevent success furnished the spice which is invaluable in a campaign of 
this kind." The percentage summary according to grapes is as follows: 

Muscats 88% 

Thompson's 88 

Sultanas 87 

Malagas 90 

Feherzagos 85 

Average of All 88% 

The Yuba and Marysville districts have about eighty-five per cent., a 
remarkable showing for an outside district. The experience has been in all 
campaigns that it is more difficult to secure the required percentage in the 
districts farther away from the center. Exceedingly gratifying was the 
showing of the township final percentages with not one in the thickly settled 
vineyard district not running better than eighty per cent. The township in 
which Selma and Kingsburg are located tied with that in which Rolinda is 
located and the township east of Reedley, all having ninety-eight percentage ; 
Biola is second with ninety-seven: Dinuba third with ninety-six: Fowler 
fourth with ninety-five and every other township in the thickly settled district 
better than ninety per cent, with the exception of the six tributary to Fresno 
and they averaging eighty-si.x. There are townships in outlying districts that 
have only forty or fifty per cent, but in many of these there are only two or 
three vineyards and in all the acreage is so small that it only affects the 
whole slightly. 

The new contract guarantees to stockholders eight per cent, earning on 
monev actually invested for the next six years and bv a simple clause the 
stock' is automatically increased from $1,040,000 to $2,500,000 or $3,000,000 
in the next three or four years in such a way that some stock goes into the 
hands of every grower without his feeling the burden. This increased stock 
will provide adequate packing facilities to handle the crop without the con- 
gestion and delay that has prevailed and at the same time make the growers 
who own it the eight per cent, earning. 

The new directors of the association for one year are : Wylie M. Gififen. 
Hector Burness, A. G. Wishon, H. H. Welsh, Hans Graff, F. H. Wilson 
and M. V. Buckner of Hanford. They chose as officers: President. W. M. 
Giffen : Vice Presidents, Hector Burness and F. H. Wilson : Assistant to the 
President, F. A. Seymour: Secretary, C. A. Murdoch: Assistant, F. M. Cleary ; 
Cashier, A. L. Babcock. Appropriation has been made of $375,000 to be spent 
in sales and advertising during the fiscal year commencing June 1, 1918. 
This is $19,000 more than appropriated last year but will give more publicity. 
A feature of the advertising will be the almost exclusive use of page adver- 
tising in colors in leading magazines. There will be an increase in trade 
press advertising with particular reference to the candy, confectionery and 
baking trades. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XXXV 

California an Agricultural Wonder, and Fresno a Prominent 
Factor. Many Resources of Both Are Yet Undeveloped. 
Great Proportions Attained by the Wine Industry. Fresno 
Leads in Sweet Wine and Brandy. Orchards a Develop- 
ment Feature of the County. Conditions Ideal for Sun 
Curing of Their Products. Citrus Growing Belt of the 
Valley. Local Nursery Stock of a Year Sufficient to 
Supply the Entire State. The Farmer Has Yet to Learn 
THE Important Lesson of the Value of the By-Product 
OF THE Farm. 

California may well claim to be an agricultural wonder. Its farming 
presents more interesting features and aftords greater opportunities than 
does any other state what with its wide range of products, soil, climatic and 
weather peculiarities. That "everything will grow in California" has been 
accepted as a fact. There is basis for it at least in that no farming ever tried 
has proven a failure from the productive point. Yet no part of the state 
has been developed to capacity, either as to output or selection of product 
that will prove of greatest and lasting profit. Its limit of production equals 
almost the range of semi-tropical and temperate lands. Fresno has been 
one agent to establish that reputation for the state, yet it is itself far short 
of having developed its cultivable area in the more valuable crops. Foremost 
in the line of fruit production, Fresno is the home of the grape, whether for 
the raisin, for wine, or for table use. 

The great grain fields such as made Fresno notable in former days have 
been converted into small acreages for intensive farming, yet California is 
still a cereal grower. The opening of eastern and foreign markets for green 
deciduous fruits and canned and sun-cured products has left as a' primary 
problem only the selection of the fruit varieties that are most successfully 
grown and best marketed. The caprification of the fig in Fresno may some 
day crowd out Smyrna as the world's suppl}'. This is no irridescent dream, 
for Fresno snatched the raisin scepter from Spain as Santa Clara practically 
drove the French prune from the American market and is crowding the for-j 
eign mart, while the northern and central portions of the state furnish eighty- 
five per cent, and more of the canned and dried fruits of the American and 
export trade. 

The opportunities are here for important development. A quarter of 
a century has demonstrated enough to justify expectation far beyond the 
present stage of development. The increased alfalfa area has animated live 
stock interests and stimulated dairjnng. Breeding of horses and mules should 
be a greater development factor. No reason why live stock raising should 
not continue a large and profitable industry. Nor the sheep business for 
mutton and wool. In 1876 it was a leading industry with nearly 7,000.000 head 
and an annual wool product of 56,500,000 pounds, bringing to the state over 
ten million dollars. Hog raising as a branch of farming has big possibilities. 
The present product is insufficient for home needs. Rice, beet sugar to rival 
the tropical cane, beans, peas, cotton and tobacco are inviting fields. The 
area in fruit is ever expanding and the outlook is hopeful for figs, dates and 
the olive. 

Failure of a fig crop in Fresno or in California has never been known. 
Fig buyers are so certain of an annual crop that it has become the custom 
in the county to make one to five 3'ear contracts with growers for the crops 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 199 

on their avenue border trees and for entire orchards and purchaser paving 
in advance for the expected crops. 

There were fourteen beet sugar factories in operation in the state in 1917 
using 1,318,400 short tons of beets from which 200,100 tons of sugar were 
made. This was the output from 154,700 acres planted for the season. The 
beets averaged fifteen and eighteen one-hundredths per cent, of sugar, the 
highest reported from any sugar-beet growing state. The average price to 
the farmer was seven dollars and fifty-two cents per ton. 

In citrus fruit, California is crowding ahead. The Central California 
citrus belt is being enlarged. The raisin has beaten every record with its 
acreage. California is a wine producer of over 30,000,000 gallons annually, 
competing with the old world countries. Almost all the sweet wine and 
brandy made in America is Californian, with Fresno leading, even though 
the output has greatly decreased owing to the heavy tax on brandy for 
fortifj'ing. Owing to this tax, the production fell off enormously during the 
1915 season, sweet wine about one-fifth, the lowest since 1893, and brandy 
one-third, the smallest since 1899—3,882,933 and 2,613,286 gallons respectively. 

The farmer of California has yet to learn the lesson of the value of the 
farm by-product as in butter, eggs, poultry, honey and the like. The day of 
immense cultivation with the small things overlooked has passed : replaced 
by that of intense cultivation with the small things closely looked after. 
Private enterprise largely rrrlaimcd a portion of California's irrigable lands. 
Great natural resources in ' ■: ' ' water remain undeveloped and await 
concerted action in a t:i ' le. A\'ith irrigated agriculture as the 

dominant industry of the : ' i Fortier, an expert writer on the sub- 

ject, declares that "the same inlelligence, energy and perseverance which 
wrested 2,500,000 acres from sands and low producing grain fields can reclaim 
other millions of acres." 

As a report of the California Development Board observed : "With abun- 
dant oil for fuel for manufacturing power and motive power on the one side 
and with over 9,000,000 horse power in water power yet to develop, and a 
widening of markets both at home and in the Orient, California can face 
her industrial future with confidence." Well it is also to remember that be- 
cause of the high economic value of the climate, it has been said that "there 
is no time in California when all nature is at rest or plant life is sleeping. 
In the field, orchard, garden, factory and in the mines, on the stock farm and 
in the dairy every day is one of productive labor." 

WINE INDUSTRY ENORMOUS 

California's wine industry has attained great proportions in extensive 
vineyards of 170,000 acres as well as in enormous capital investments. Sweet 
wine production more than doubled in the ten years before 1912, the output 
as well as that of brandy much greater than all the states combined, 9,502,391 
gallons port and 7,904.955 sherry, a total of 22,491.772 for seven varieties of 
sweet wines against 605,004 for the four varieties of all the other states. A 
little more than a century ago, Madeira was the favorite wine and Jamaica 
rum, the spirit. Whisky and Ijrandy were unknown. Brand}'- was not statistic- 
ally named apart from spirits until 1842. Cahfornia's 1915 sweet wine product, 
in which brandy enters largely in the fortification, was 16,868,374 gallons 
against 300,324 "for five other 'states, and of fruit brandy 7,906,380 against 
615,571 as against all other states. 

The introduction of European vines into California dates back to 1771 by 
the Catholic missions from Spain via Mexico. The first vineyard was the 
one at Mission San Gabriel near Los Angeles, extended thereafter from mis- 
sion to mission from San Diego to Sonoma in five to thirt_v acre vineyards. 
One variety of grape was grown, the Mission, which is still grown. With 
the confiscation of the missions in 1845, the vineyards fell into neglect. In 
1850 two southern counties produced 50,055 gallons, ten years later the state 



200 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

production was 246,518. In 1856 there were 1,540,134 vines in the state, two 
years later 3,954,548. At this later period the wine industry was promoted and 
greatlv encouraged. In 1861 A. Haraszthy as a member of the newly created 
state commission on viticulture visited the European wine districts and bought 
100,000 vines of 1,400 varieties which were propagated in Sonoma. Cuttings 
were distributed among growers and from that time wine manufacture has 
had a continuous growth interrupted only by depreciation during particular 
years. In 1870 farms produced over 1,814,000 gallons and Los Angeles, Sonoma 
and Santa Clara were leading producers. Besides, wineries capitalized at 
$658,420 produced wine of the value of $602,553. 

A great acreage increase between 1870 and 1875 caused a wine over- 
production followed by ruinous depreciation in prices. Many vineyards were 
uprooted and in ten years the number of wineries was reduced to forty-five. 
The largest vineyardists continued to improve properties and by 1879 because 
of the growing demand for California wines consumption overtook production 
and prices advanced. Since 1880 the progress has been continuous. In 1890 
the vintage had increased to 14,626,000 gallons, Fresno with 1,200,000 gallons 
being the fifth largest producer; In 1900 the production was 8,483,000 of 
sweet and 15,000,000 gallons of dry wines, a total of 23,483,000^ The $160,300 
product value of the eleven wineries of 1850 increased to $1,738,863 for 128 
in 1890, $3,937,871 for 187 in 1900 and $8,936,846 for 181 in 1910. 

This state has some of the largest and best cultivated vineyards in the 
world. The Italian Vineyard Company has 3,200 acres in San Bernardino of 
all the best varieties : in this county is the Wahtoke of 3,631 acres with twenty 
of the leading varieties, near Sanger and Reedley: and in Tehama County the 
Stanford Vina of 1.500, mostly Zinfandel and Burger. The vines of the 
Vina have been uprooted to make way for orchard trees and crops, a step 
made necessary because while the vineyard was remunerative it had been 
fouled with Johnson grass which could not be eradicated with the vines in 
place. The Wahtoke as the largest Fresno winery has an annual capacity of 
2,000,000 gallons. The Italian-Swiss Colonv has a 750,000 gallon winery at 
Selma and another of 1,000,000 capacity near Kingsburg. M. F. Tarpey's 
La Paloma, a model institution with an output of 1,500,000 gallons, was 
absorbed, as so many others have been, by the California Wine Association. 

Other large wineries in the county are the Great Western of 2,500 acres 
east of Sanger, the Eisen, Eggers, Barton capitalized in England, the Fresno. 
Margarita, Calwa, Scandinavian, St. George, Las Palmas, Mattel's and the 
Kearney. With few exceptions, these are such large ventures that they have 
become corporate enterprises. 

California grows the principal wine grapes of France, Italy, Spain, Portu- 
gal and Germany, and the produced beverage type varieties are unequaled. 
Indeed, California raw wine is shipped to the old country, aged and processed 
and after a time reimported and drunk as a foreign product under continental 
labels and none but the expert can tell the difference. It is also the fact that 
California winemakers have been awarded high prizes for their products in 
competition at European expositions. In this state the surplus table and 
shipping grapes are used for wine making, but the desirable qualities in a 
shipping grape differ from those of a good wine grape and the product is 
inferior. They are more suited for brandy making, which is their principal 
use. Surplus raisin, grapes are also used for brandy, and the quality is better, 
though the bulk of dry and sweet wines and of brandy is from a special wine 
grape unsuited for other purpose. 

The wine producing areas of the state are the dry and sweet wine dis- 
tricts. The dry are principally in the hills and valleys of the Coast Range 
counties from Mendocino to San Diego. The interior valleys from Shasta to 
Kern comprise the other. The classification may not be logical, yet is fairly 
accurate as to the practice and the products, because in fact sweet and dry 
wines can be made in nearly, if not all, the grape growing districts. The 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 201 

Zinfandel is California's typical rcdwine grape, and from it the bulk of all 
dry and sweet red wines is made. Considerably more than half of the Cali- 
fornia brandy output is used for fortifying the sweet wines. The 1915 brandy 
output was '7,906,380 gallons, 4,425,747 used in fortifying, and the dry wine 
21,571,000 gallons which is short of the normal 25,000,0(X). The Fresno dis- 
trict, which is not a dry wine district, produced 250,000 gallons, Sonoma and 
Napa being the leaders. Winemakers are meeting with success in the making 
of sparkling wines, with naturally fermented champagne increased from 580,- 
000 bottles in 1911 to 1,100,000 in'l914 but with a falling of? to 732,000 in 1915. 
The following figures show Fresno's lead as a sweet wine and brandy 
producer in gallons in the state's production : 

Sweet \\'ine Brandy 

1907— State 15,600,000 3,900.000 

Fresno 6,000.000 1,250,000 

1908— State 10,500,000 4,200.000 

Fresno 6.800.000 1,000.000 

1909— State 14.300.000 3,600,000 

Fresno 7,.500,000 1,200,000 

1910— State 18,000,000 4,700.000 

Fresno 6,000,000 750.000 

In twenty years the sweet wine product has increased from 1,083,000 
gallons in 1891 to 23,467,000 in 1912, the heaviest in history. Port and sherry 
are leading wines, sherry generally leading as in 1903 and 1912 with upwards 
of eight million gallons. Yet again for 1910-12 the port output was upwards 
of nine millions. Import of foreign wines has remained steady for some years, 
annually some ten millions. Grape juice making as a beyerage is on the whole 
decreasing. The quantity made in California was never more than 60.000 
gallons, it is claimed that there is no profit in the making. An estimate of 
the selling price of 8.814 cars of table grapes shipped east in 1915 was $8,814.- 
000 and of 1.000 cars expressed and consumed in the state $700,000, total for 
the crop of $9,514,000. This was an unusual year because of the shortage by 
reason of late frosts in the Concord belts from Michigan to New York. 

The California Wine Association representing one-half of the industry 
in the state faces a critical situation. Its directorate has recommended to 
manufacturers to sell their stocks and prepare for the beginning of the end 
on account of the national prohibition movement. Its report in 1918 sum- 
marized the agitation for prohibition, and after pointing out that "prohibition 
leaders would not tolerate any suggestion that compensation should be made 
for the destruction of property, or provision made for the support of the 
thousands who would thereby be deprived of their means of living," said: 

"Under these circumstances, the directors have reached the conclusion 
that the further pursuit of a business with a future so uncertain is not wise ; 
that any plans for its continued development are not warranted. Already 
a considerable progress has been made in this direction. Lands and buildings 
for which there was no further use in wine making have been sold whenever 
a price anywhere near satisfactory under present circumstances could be 
obtained, but always at a great sacrifice upon their original cost." 

The retrenchment policy is made manifest in a showing that in 1916 the 
association inventoried its wines and supplies at $6,729,394.27. December 31, 
1917, the value was placed at $5,201,484.94, more than $1,500,000 less._ Re- 
ferring to repeated campaigns in California the published statement said : 
"No legitimate business could long be conducted successfully in the face of 
such never-ending opposition, with an unavailing supply of money." 

The statement adds that the wine industry represents investments aggre- 
gating more than $100,000,000 and brings into the state annually more than 
$20,000,000. Federal and state taxes on wines in California amounted to 
$3,421,884.85 in 1917 as against $1,791,555.63 in 1916. 



202 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Little was attempted in the fruit line in tlie early days outside of the 
missions. After their secularization in 1834, Fremont says on his visit in 
1846 that vineyards and olive orchards were decayed and falling into neglect. 
First plantings in the north by the Americans were generally near the mines, 
but little care was bestowed upon them, and fruit growing was not the science 
that it is today. California, Missouri and New York were reported four 
years ago as the three largest orchard tree states, California leading with over 
30,895,000, and New York in fruit product value. 

Deciduous fruit shipments of an approximate value of $34,500,000 were 
sent to eastern markets from California for the season of 1917 in November. 
A total of 22,954 carloads of apricots, cherries, pears, peaches, plums, grapes 
and miscellaneous fruits went forward and it was estimated the total would be 
23,000 cars before the close of the season. Shipments the season before totalled 
17,389 carloads. A total of 12,349>4 carloads of grapes was shipped. This was 
within a few hundred carloads of the shipment of all varieties of deciduous 
fruits in 1913, when the total for the season was 13,332 carloads. So much 
in illustration of the immensity of California's fruit business. The peach is 
California's second ranking orchard fruit, including the nectarine in the classi- 
fication as a botanical variety. The state exceeds all others in dried and 
canned peaches, though Georgia leads in fresh peach shipments. 

Fresno County produced in 1917 more than one-half of the state's $6,000,- 
000 crop of dried peaches. AMiile it was generally recognized that it was the 
banner county of the state it was for the California Peach Growers Inc. to 
discover the position of the county by checking up the acreage. The figures 
show that Fresno is well over the fifty per cent, mark and that Fresno, 
Tulare, Kings and Merced counties have nearh' seventy-five per cent, of the 
dried peach orchards of California. Within a radius of seventy-five miles from 
Fresno grow seventy-five per cent, of the peaches. About four and one-half 
of the six millions received from peaches in 1917 came to the Fresno district. 

The state has a monopoly in apricot growing, and leads in the canned 
and dried export. Apricots fell off eight millions from forty millions, but it 
is an uncertain fruit, bearing largely every other three years. The 1914-15 
season shows a heavy increase in lemon shipments and a falling off in 
oranges. Dried figs increased from four to fourteen million pounds. Raisins 
made a larger increase than any other fruit with imports greatly reduced. 
California leads for the prune and plums. The first large prune orchard was 
established in 1870 at San Jose. The production of the pear has declined with 
the blight, but is recovering. The Bartlett as the chief product grew nowhere 
more luscious than in Fresno. The French prune industry has become a 
large one and the olive is an old mission fruit that has come to the front in 
late years. Experimentation goes on with the date with encouraging results. 
California and Florida lead as the sub-tropical producers. 

DISTINCTIVE FEATURE IS THE ORCHARD 

The orchard may be said to be one of the highest development features 
of Fresno County. The conditions that distinguish it as the raisin center make 
it ideal for sun drying of fruit as a big revenue producing item. The peach 
as the leading fruit totals four and one quarter million trees, an acreage of 
42,500 speaking off hand. The apricot ranks second with an acreage of over 
7,000. No other county probably has as many peach trees. Selma is the peach 
growing district of the county. The average profit on peaches is high, but 
the field has its good and bad marketing years, and to standardize the output 
the peach growers have taken a leaf out of the experience book of the raisin 
men and established a protective association patterned on the same lines. 
Peaches have gone as high as $220 a ton but that was during an exceptional 
year when the general supply was poor. 

February 1918 the California Peach Growers Inc. of Fresno made a $40 
a ton payment on delivered peaches of the 1917 crop. This was a second pay- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 203 

ment of $1,150,000, or two cents additional on Stocks one and two, bringing 
the total to date seven cents per pound or $140 a ton. There was yet a final 
payment to be made. On the 1916 crop Stocks one and two averaged about 
^120 a ton and the second payment on 1917 crop with final yet to be made 
is $20 above the previous total. The 1917 crop was practically cleaned out. 
The 1916 crop handled by the growers totalled 25,000 tons, while the 1917 
totalled 30,000. On the association's first year's business a $60,000 first div- 
idend of seven per cent was paid to stockholders, besides an average of six 
per cent, per pound on peaches. The 1917 crop netted eight cents. 

The olive is a most profitable tree, a slow grower to be sure but long 
lived, and it is a specialty of Fresno and gaining so in favor that nurserymen 
cannot meet the demand for trees. The field opened for the Calimyrna fig 
may be judged from the circumstance that in 1911 the United States produced 
600,000 pounds of Smyrna figs against an importation of 26,000,000 pounds, 
paying moreover a duty of two and one-half cents on every pound. 

The northern California orange crop matures from four to six weeks 
earlier than in the southern part of the state, notwithstanding a location from 
300 to 500 miles farther north, an advantage due to topography in being 
enclosed by mountain ranges causing higher night temperatures during the 
summer and hastening maturing. The citrus industry is relatively new in 
the San Joaquin Valley, but the acreage in Fresno, Tulare and Kern was 
increased in 1915 by 3,000 acres, l)ringing the total to considerably over 12.000. 
1.1 Northern and Central California, Tulare leads with 801,150' trees, Butte 
147,412, Fresno 85,781, Kern 80,900 and Sacramento 46.256. The first Fresno 
Citrus Fair of Fresno, November. 18':'(), purely a local afifair, was a revelation. 
The production four years later was ''^.fUO Ixixes. A high prize was taken 
in 1912 at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino. The development 
of a rich and promising citrus belt has been one feature of the county's recent 
growth. This belt runs along the eastern lower foothills and thousands of 
acres await development. 

The state's orange industry represents an investment of about 150 
millions. Florida lost its lead after the "great freeze" of 1894-95, the shipment 
falling from six millions to 75.000 boxes. California's citrus production for 
1913-14 was a record breaker of 4X,,xi8 cars as against 18,331 for the previous 
season as reduced by a killing frost to tlic lowest production in twelve years. 
The lemon is less hardy than the orange and though grown for half a century 
it is onl\- (hiring the last twenty years that it has assumed importance, com- 
prising ten to fifteen per cent, of the citrus crop. The year 1915 was a dis- 
astrous one in marketing at a loss of about thirty cents per box to the grower, 
due to the great crop and the heavy supply of fruit in storage, much of it in 
bad condition. 

Instructive as showing the direct effect of irrigation on dairying are the 
following figures from the State Dairy Bureau giving the Fresno butter 
product in pounds during notable earlier years: 1905 — 1,619,746; 1907 — 2,786,- 
817; 1909 — 3,721,262. Humboldt with its copious rainfall making irrigation 
unnecessary is the banner county for butter output. The increase in dairying 
is principally in counties where irrigation is practiced. The butter supply, by 
the way, is far short of the home demand. The state's dairy output is one 
valued at over twenty-seven millions. It is probably not generally appreciated 
that Fresno is preeminently a tree nursery district. There are more than 
half a hundred nurseries. The Fancher Creek Nurseries of George C. Roeding 
are world famous and his clientage co-extensive. One recent year there were 
raised in this county one million and a half deciduous and one-half million 
citrus trees and three million grape vines. The statement has been made that 
citrus trees are raised here in quantity sufficient to supply stock for all Cal- 
ifornia. The district around old Centerville on the Kings River and near 
Sanger is a great nursery field in the hands of Japanese. 



204 . HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

To generalize in conclusion: Fresno holds high rank in raisin drying, 
sweet wine and brandy making and in the shipping of table grapes, the chief 
viticultural divisions. It is an important factor in the green, dried and canned 
fruit lines. The grape alone brings into the county annually over nine mil- 
lions, half of this credited to the raisin. It has ten and three-quarter millions" 
wine grape vines, and thirty-seven millions raisin and table grape vines. Then 
there are to be considered the secondary profits from the vineyard as the 
second crop of muscats sold to the distilleries, the fertilizer from the stemmed 
grape pomace, besides use as a silage for sheep and cattle feed, oil extracted 
from the seeds, also tannin. The raisin is a leading specialty representing 
about one-tenth of the county's income, while Raisin Day on April 30th as 
an annual celebration has for four years attracted more than state wide 
notice for its spectacles. Fresno produces more raisins than all the rest of 
the state and twice as much as Spain. The seeded raisin is singular to Fresno. 
The output runs as high as 33,000 tons annually. 

The associated raisin company in February, 1918, authorized on the 
seedless variety a second payment of $50 per ton, added to the $70 upon de- 
livery bringing the total to $120 a ton. On the 1916 crop it paid $131 upon 
final payment. 

In the 7,000 acres devoted to table grapes, the Malaga and Emperor are 
the chief varieties. The Thompson Seedless is extensiveh^ shipped, valuable 
raisin grape though it is. The perfection of a method of shipping in saw dust 
has given the fresh grape industry an impetus and permits competition for 
the eastern holiday trade. The region about Clovis is a more important and 
greater producer of the IMalaga grape than is the original district in Spain. 
Fresno is a great producer of alfalfa, acreage over 50,000, yielding eight tons 
as an average to the acre. In dairying the county ranks fourth in the state, 
yet not until 1902 did it pass the million pound mark for butter and this was 
more than doubled three years later. The great bulk of the honey output 
of over twelve million pounds comes from the San Joaquin Valley and the 
counties south, the bees extracting the floral nectar from the alfalfa and sage 
in the one and the orange blossoms in the other district. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

Farm Product Values Place California in the Tenth Rank 
Among the States. Raisin Production Outranks all In- 
creases IN Fresno County. The Output is the Largest in 
THE World. It Has the Credit For More Than One-Half 
of the State's Dried Peach Crop. For Hay and Forage it is 
Third. Rice Growing is Making Great Strides. Sacramento 
Valley Raises Ninety-Five Per Cent, of the Cotton in the 
State. 

Sun-kissed California is a state where things are done on a big scale. 

Farm products of the United States totaled in 1917 the unprecedented 
value of $19,443,849,381. This is an increase of more than $6,000,000,000 over 
1916 and almost $9,000,000,000 more than in 1915. The estimate of the U. S. 
Department of Agriculture is made up as follows : 

Farm Crops $13,610,462,782 

Animals and Products 5,833,386,599 

Crops represent seventy per cent, of the farm products value. California's 
farm products are given a value of $432,285,000. Its rank is tenth among the 
states. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 205 

Interesting facts as to the 1917 dairy production are contained in the 
state dairy bureau report. The l^utter production showed a marked decrease. 
In 1916 it was 70,030,174 pounds, as against 68,373,021 in 1917. Notable 
however that while the yield was almost 2,000,000 pounds less, its value was 
over $6,000,000 more, being $19,181,264 for 1916 and for 1917, $25,345,879. 
The total 1917 cheese output was 9,236,663 pounds as against 11,745,124 in 
1916. Santa Clara leads all counties with 1,567,305 pounds, Monterey second 
with 1,336,727, a reversal of places for these counties as Monterey led in 1916. 
The value of the cheese output was $1,827,012. The increase is over 7,000.000 
pounds in condensed, evaporated and powdered milk and in casein over 200 
per cent. 

Dairying has become such a notable industry in the central portion of 
the state with its alfalfa fields and climate, the latter permitting dairy stock 
to be out in pasture all the year, as to warrant the formation of the San Joa- 
quin Valley Milk Producers' Association to control it. The Danish Creamery 
as a notably successful business institution of Fresno of twenty-two years of 
standing and one that has been awarded a succession of first prizes in state 
butter competitions, reported an increase in business for 1917 of thirty-nine 
per cent. The gross business was $858,560.86, an increase -principally due to 
the high price of the article. The butter made also showed a substantial 
increase over the previous year — total made 2,073.185 pounds. For January 
1918 by way of illustration, it may be cited that the price of butter fat was 
fixed at sixty cents a pound, the amount paid for butter fat was $71,034.67 and 
for the corresponding period the year before $56,156.24. 

Outranking all others is Fresno's 1917 increase in raisin production. 
There was produced in 1916 more than three times as much raisins as all 
California and in 1917 alone almost as many pounds as the 1916 grand total. 
Less than half a dozen of the fifty-eight counties of the state produce raisins 
in commercial quantity. Since 1913 the raisin crop has steadily increased. 
The crop in 1912 was 170,000,000 pounds but fell off in 1913 to 130.000,000. 
In 1916 it was up to the enormous total of 264,000,000 pounds which crop was 
exceeded the year after by 36,000,000 pounds. 

Exports have made satisfactory increase from 14,000,000 in 1914, to 
24,000.000 in 1915 and 75,000,000 pounds in 1916. Tl;at crop would have been 
the largest on record but that rains damaged Muscats and the loss was esti- 
mated at twenty-five per cent, with drying not completed until December. 
Thompson's and Sultanas being earlier escaped. 

The state 1917 raisin crop was estimated at 150,000 tons, if not in excess, 
and of this production Fresno vineyards furnished seventy-five per cent, or 
112.500 tons. The revenue from this large output averaged $100 a ton, giving 
the Fresno County raisin crop a money value of $11,250,000. The county's 
raisin crop for 1917 figured 225,000.000 pounds. Preeminence as a raisin 
producer is shown in the following tabulation on the basis of the 1916 totals : 

Countv Pounds 

Fresno 207,000,000 

Tulare 22.900,000 

Kings 17.820,000 

Sutter 8,320,000 

Madera 3,320.000 

Kern 1,560,000 

San Bernardino 1,340,000 

San Diego 1,200,000 

Merced 480,000 

Stanislaus 60,000 



206 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

The 1917 state raisin crop-was at the least 300,000,000 as against the 264,- 
000,000 of 1916 and measured b}' these figures Fresno's crop would be the 
greatest in the world : 

Tons 

Fresno Countv 112.500 

Greek Currants 100,000 

California (outside of Fresno) 37,500 

Turkish Sultanas 30,000 

Spain 5,500 

Fresno's peach production in 1916 was 18,000 tons with estimates of 
20,000 to 22,000 representing the 1917 crop. Figuring on the minimum, the 
value would be $3,200,000 or more than fifty per cent, of the state's dried 
peach crop. The green peach production amounted to about 800 cars, chiefly 
from Selma, "The Home of the Peach," and from Fowler and Reedley. 
Green peaches averaged the grower $30 a ton, thirteen tons to the car, total 
value of the crop $312,000. 

Of table grape varieties largest shipments were Malagas, 2,000 cars 
representing Fresno's 1917 export. In addition probably 300 cars of Tliomp- 
son's seedless and 400 of Emperors represented the total from the county 
for the season and the value : 

Malagas ....- $1,040,000 

Emperors ..- 312.000 

Thompson's 195,000 

Tlie 1916 green grape tonnage was valued at $174,300: in 1917 almost 
doubled. The wine grape production for 1917 was near the three million 
dollar mark. 

Rice culture made a long step in advance as one of the possible industries 
of the state with $1,000,000 worth of the grain practicalh^ on the way to the 
mills from the 1917 harvest. In five years it has grown from a $75,000 per 
annum experimental industry. Over ninety-five per cent, of tlie rice raised 
in California comes from the Sacramento Valley and while only 84,000 acres 
were harvested in 1917 the applications for water to canal companies and 
other sources up to February, 1918, indicated increase in acreage in excess of 
the water supplying capacities. 

The larger growers contracted with mills at Lake Charles, La., and 
Beaumont, Texas, for over one-third of the 1917 crop. Returns from the mills 
show net average of about three dollars and seventy-five cents per 100 pounds 
to the grower, in some cases as high as four dollars and five cents. The cost 
of rice production in 1917 was abnormal. A conservative estimate is that it 
cost the planter in excess of two dollars and twenty-five cents per sack of 
100 pounds to place the crop in warehouse. The acreage in this county fell 
ofif from 1,120 in 1915 to 280 in 1916 but regained in 1917 to bring the total 
to an estimated 500 acres. 

According to federal statistics there were 117,000 acres planted to cotton 
in California for the 1917 season, more than double the 52,000 acreage of 1916 
while that of 1915 was only 39,000. For the 1917 season the yield per acre 
showed a decided decrease. The average was 275 pounds per acre, 400 for 
1916 and 380 for 1915. While this yield is notably less than that of past years, 
it is yet the highest acre 3'ield of any state. Louisiana ranks second with 218 
pounds. Average price for 1917 was twenty-eight cents a pound, twenty for 
1916, and 11.2 for 1915. The farm value of the California cotton crop was: 
1917_$9,380.000; 1916— $4,362,000 and 1915— $1,599,000. Average acre value 
of crop: 1917 — seventy-seven dollars as the highest reported by any state; 
1916 — eighty; 1915 — forty-two dollars and fifty-six cents. 

California's corn crop was doubled in 1917 and the bean and oats crops 
trebled during this year when war's demands called for increase in staple 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 207 

farm products. Green fruit production during 1917 gives the county's orange 
crop at 300 cars or 114,000 boxes valued at one dollar and twenty-five cents 
a box at $142,000. The oranges are chiefly from the pioneer Centerville dis- 
trict, the nearby Sanger and the later developed Wahtoke district. The acre- 
age in bearing is only 400 or 500, though in the Wahtoke district 2,000 acres 
have been planted. 

The plum production will not exceed 100 cars valued at $52,000. There 
are 72,788 olive trees in bearing in the county and it is fifth in the state 
for olive production. The county's acreage under irrigation in crop is 259,607, 
under irrigation not in crop 76,311 and 10,075 summer fallowed. 

In hay and forage the county ranks third with a $2,000,000 1917 product. 
The Turkish tobacco output of Fresno and Tulare with the only available 
figures those of the joint production is of about 200,000 pounds. The bee 
colonies in the county exceed 10,000. The production is in round figures 
700,000 pounds of honey and upwards of 8,500 in wax. In ordinary years 
the county ships 20,000 cases of honey annually which at 1917's prices would 
represent $240,000. The 1917 harvest Avas only one-fourth of the normal, 
valued at $60,000. 

According to the Forest Service report the state's lumber cut in 1917 
leads all records. It places the cut at 1,424,000,000 feet board measure ex- 
ceeding the 1916 cut by about 4,000,000, the 1917 figures representing fif- 
teen mills less than reporting the year before, but indicating greater activity 
on the part of individual mills in meeting demands of the war. Mills to 
the number of 169 reported for 1917 a cut of 1,417,068.400 feet, with 1,317,- 
245.000 as the output of the forty-eight larger mills. In the cut are repre- 
sented the following: 

Redwood 487,458,000 

Western Pine 478,458,000 

Douglass Fir 156,083,000 

Sugar Pine 1 127,951,000 

White Fir 120,661,000 

Cedar 21 ,310,000 

Spruce 20,659,000 

In Fresno County lumber interests were not active. The Shaver mills 
were not in operation and the mill at Hume cut about 20,000,000 feet. It 
had shut down two weeks when on the morning of November 3, 1917, it was 
visited by fire causing a loss of half a million. 

Estimates ol other products increasing the aggregate wealth of the 
county and not including lumber and oil are these for the year 1917: 

Manufacturing $3,200,000 

Canned Fruit 3,120,000 

Dairv Products 2,850,000 

Minerals 2,225,000 

Nursery Stock 860,000 

Poultry and Eggs 510,000 

Melons 290,000 

W^ool and Mohair 160,000 

The fruit item above recalls that twenty-five years ago when the first 
small cannery had been in operation here two years the San Francisco 
canners held obstinately to the theory that deciduous fruits grown on the 
irrigated soil of Fresno were unfit for canning. 



208 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

Romantic Side of Horticulture. The Story of the Minute Fig 
Wasp in the Introduction of a Coming Industry. Early 
Experimentation in Caprification. Fresno Furnishes 
Half of the Fig Crop. Commercialization of the Black 
Mission. Grape Industry of Valley to Be Revolutionized,, 
Magnitude of the Dried Fruit Output. The Rabbit Drive 
as a Sport of the Valley. California the Land for Sci- 
entific Farming. 

Horticulture in California has its romantic side. No phase of it is 
more striking than that of the introduction of the fig wasp with the result 
of an industry yet in its infancy that in time may equal the grape, the peach, 
or the raisin outputs. 

As interesting is the history of the searches for and discoveries in for- 
eign lands and the importation and home progagation of beneficial insects 
that wage relentless warfare on the harmful tree and vine pests. 

The state horticultural commissioner has discovered a new field for 
the California ladybird beetle that has played such an important part in 
nature's economy. It is to be sent for colonization to the melon patches in 
Southern California to make war there on the destructive vine bugs. A 
wonderful and entrancingly interesting work is being prosecuted by the 
state horticultural board and the Department of Agriculture in the line of 
natural economics with these numerous and varied beneficial insects. The 
future of important fruit and vine crops has been saved by the introduction, 
propagation and naturalization in California of these insects. "Bugology." 
as it has been popularly termed, has become an important scientific branch 
of horticulture. 

The fig wasp is hardly larger than the gnat, but to propagate it in 
Fresno for the commercial production of the dried Smyrna fig has cost 
thousands of dollars, years of discouraging effort and journeys to the Orient 
for sojourns in the districts where it makes its home. Consular service, the 
resources of the Department of Agriculture and the enterprise and money 
of private experimenters overcame difficulties with the result of an industry 
that yields half a million dollars annually to California orchardists and 
which with time may attain great proportions. 

The fig has long been cultivated in this state, but Turkey, Algeria and 
other countries on the INIediterranean held the dried fig trade as a monopoly. 
The home product was so inferior despite fruitfulness of trees that compe- 
tition was out of the question. California varieties were the ^lission figs 
introduced by the Franciscan padres more than a century ago, and the later 
European imported White Adriatic. Dried, the home article commanded 
from seven and one-half to ten cents a pound in the market when no Smyrna 
figs were on hand. It was theorized that the fault lay in the California 
cultivated variety. Introduction of the Smj'rna followed with a shipment 
in 1879 by G. P. Rexford of the San Francisco Bulletin. The consul at 
Smyrna assisting, thousands of cuttings were imported and distributed 
among nurserymen and growers. They rooted readily, but the fruit never 
grew large and fell from the trees as the experience of years. The only 
explanation was that there had been an inifxisitidu with a worthless variety 
to defeat introduction of the true Smyrna fig in America. 

Some dug up their trees: a few let theirs stand as ornamentals and 
warnings against embracing a fad too readily. Most of the Black Missions 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 209 

were planted along ditches as borders or wind breaks. F. Roeding and his 
son, George C, of Fresno, scientific nurserymen, were among the earUest 
interested and in 1886 sent W. C. West to Smyrna to investigate. He learned 
things that would not have been believed but for confirmation by Dr. Gus- 
tav Eisen of the California Academy of Sciences in discovered ancient writ- 
ings of the practice of Orientals in picking the wild or Capri figs at a cer- 
tain time of the year and hanging them in the branches of the cultivated 
trees. And what Dr. Eisen discovered in ancient tomes, concerning the 
mirxute insect that issued from the wild fig and entered the cultivated to 
fertilize the latter with pollen and thus cause them to mature, West learned 
by observation in the Maeander River Valley, the world's principal supply 
source of the Smyrna fig. 

California figs contained "mule flowers," as they were called. Fruit 
progressed to maturation without agency of wasp, seeds were hollow fruit 
inferior in flavor and deficient in sweetness. The Smyrna containing only 
female blossoms, will not mature unless fertilized by pollen from the Capri 
fig, and this is the life work of the blastophaga grossorum, the little wasp 
that breeds in the Capri fig. The process of transferring this pollen has 
given rise to the term "caprification," and to enable the wasp to perform 
this function the practice of the Orientals has been for ages to hang the 
Capri figs among the branches of the Smyrna trees yielding the fig of com- 
merce. The Capri fig is in fig producing lands an article of commerce for 
the very insects that it contains. Strange indeed that California fruit men 
were so slow in discovering the reason for their failures with Smyrna trees. 
But it was the fact nevertheless. The bug story provoked ridicule. The 
Roedings constituted themselves the champions of the blastophaga and made 
plantings of the two cuttings sent on by '\\'cst. In 1890 they bore and arti- 
ficial pollenization was attempted. The fertilized fruit matured, but the figs 
were still inferior to the imported. The e.xperimentation of several years 
was successful in part only, and the conclusion was that the wasp must be 
naturalized, or the efifort in California to grow Smyrna figs abandoned. 

Capri figs were imported in June, 1892, and hung in trees covered with 
cloth to prevent escape of the insects. Other shipments followed but all 
to no satisfactory purpose. The Secretary of Agriculture was induced in 
1897 to take up the subject with the result of more recorded failures. Finally 
out of a lot sent in 1899, each fig wrapped in tinfoil and all in cotton in a 
wooden case, the insects emerged and fertilized orchard growing fruit dur- 
ing the summer. They bred, passing through several generations. The 
hibernation period was outlived and next summer the Capris were trans- 
ferred to the Smyrnas. A crop of fifteen tons was harvested, tested chem- 
ically and found to contain one and four-tenths percent, more sugar than 
the imported. The problem of producing commercially valuable California 
dried figs was solved. In overcoming the difflculties, the Department of 
Agriculture has the credit of importing the insects and Mr. Roeding of 
naturalizing them in the long and wearisome experimental processes, bear- 
ing the financial loss of the failures and 'the ridicule in assuming that such 
an insignificant insect should play such an important part in nature's econ- 
omy. In ]\Iay, I'-'Ol. Air. Roeding went to Smyrna to familiarize himself 
with details of caprification, curing and packing. The nature of his mission 
preceded him and he found the people averse to teach a threatened com- 
petitor. The benefit of his information and experiences he has gi\en in a 
book, "The Smyrna Fig at Home and Abroad." 

And thus liy accident it was that in June, 1899, the discovery was made 
after persistent effort and discouraging trials that the little gnat or wasp 
had consented to be listed among the prize emigrants. The wasp was alive 
and propagating in some of the Capri figs sent in March and April of 1898 
and 1899. The fig growers of Asia ]\Iinor, who had practised caprification 



210 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

for over a thousand years, had been found to be amazingly ignorant. They 
knew that figs cannot be obtained without the agency of the little insect 
but in what manner it benefits the figs or how it propagates was a sealed 
book to them. 

California is practically a lone producer of the fig in commercial quan- 
tities, with Fresno as the leading grower of what has been described as 
"perhaps the grandest fruit tree of California." The White Adriatic was 
largely planted from 1884 to 1897. Markarian introducing and planting it 
as a vineyard border tree, and ten years later packing the fruit. In 1897 
as stated, the Smyrna was introduced by George C. Roeding and he origi- 
nated an important fruit industry with his improved caprified "Calimyrna." 
The fig industry generally faces such a hopeful outlook that as a result of 
an institute held in Fresno in January, 1917, the growers of the state and 
especially of the San Joaquin Valley took steps to organize for the marketing 
of crops on a better business basis. As a result of the preliminary pool, 
when only ten to twenty percent, of the fig area had been signed, two-cent 
selling prices of a few years ago advanced from five to ten cents according 
to variety. 

Problems confronting the fig men are not the same that face raisin 
and peach growers, though many belong to both organizations. They have 
long considered their border trees as a side issue without realizing their 
true market value until of late. The fig man is having much the same ex- 
perience as the raisin and peach grower has had dealing individually with 
the packer. Congratulating himself that he is securing a top price, not until 
after sale or contract signature does he learn in comparing notes with 
neighbors that he has not been favored but often that he has been dis- 
criminated against. 

On account of the European war. Asia Minor fig importations have 
been cut ofif for two years, this import being about 18,000 tons annually. 
About 1,500 tons for each of the two years have come to America from Por- 
tugal and Spain, a tonnage that usually goes to Denmark, Norway and 
Sweden. This diverted supply is what is known as a manufacturing or 
baker's fig and does not compete with the California fig as the true Smyrna 
does. This state produces from 6,000 to 8,000 tons of figs yearly. The prod- 
uct is annually increasin,g by reason of new plantings, so that with normal 
imports there should be over 25,000 tons of figs on the market, with a hold 
over crop in most years. 

While the imports are cut of?, California growers are producing nearly 
all the dried figs consumed in the United States, and over fifty percent, of 
this crop is raised in Fresno County. It will be several years probably after 
the war ceases before the tonnage of import will equal that before the war. 
Report is that many fig trees in the foreign centers have been ruined or cut 
back for fuel. This would set back their crops for some years, and as the 
last two years' crops have been consumed there is no danger of a large accu- 
mulation of foreign figs to crowd the American markets after the war. 

And while on the subject of. this war there is the interesting circum- 
stance that in March, 1918, the University of California rejected all bids 
for the fig crop of the Kearney Farm in Fresno, although they ranged near 
$23,000 for a crop that theretofore had sold on the trees'for $3,000 to $5,500. 
It was probably the first time in history that a producer had refused a price 
because it was deemed too high. The university men declared they would 
not take advantage of offers that were out of proportion to the value of the 
fruit or at least were greatly inflated. There are some 2,100 trees on the 
estate practically all on the borders. Some are poor producers, others among 
the best in the county. Most of them are the white Adriatics. Some fig crops 
in the county were bought up- at thirteen and thirteen and one-half cents a 
pound; some even higher. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 211 

REVOLUTIONIZING THE GRAPE INDUSTRY 

Pomologist George C. Husniann in charge of viticultural investigations 
for the United States Department of Agriculture, has made announcement 
of successful experiments in currant and table grape varieties that may- 
revolutionize the grape industry of the valley. The currant varieties have 
been tested on resistant stock and results have been secured to make it 
certain that the grape will thrive here. Many vines at the experimental 
plot yielded sixty to eighty pounds to the vine and some have gone higher. 
Over 50,000,000 pounds of currants from this small grape are imported 
yearly, and the Department of Agriculture believes this industry can be 
switched to the San Joaquin Valley^ The fruit is said to be a delicious eat- 
ing grape, as well as a currant grape, and capable of being shipped to long 
distances. 

Experiments with the Black Minukka, a large berried, big clustered 
seedless grape of the Thompson Seedless family, demonstrated it to be a 
good shipping grape. It is said to surpass in flavor nearly all other varieties. 
A grape that may supplant the Emperor is the Hunisa. It ripens at about 
the same time, packs well and is in keeping and shipping qualities the equal 
of any, while better flavored than most. Experiments with this variety have 
shown that it will grow in this valley, and should bring greater returns than 
the Emperor, which it has almost supplanted in other districts. The belief 
is that those varieties combining flavor and quality with shipping capability 
will sell best in the eastern markets. Many in the East are disappointed in 
Tokays because they lack flavor. 

According to the State Agricultural Society, the California dried fruit 
industry made noteworthy gains during the year 1915, and the following 
figures indicate the magnitude it has attained. The value of all imported 
fruit in 1913, including dates, Greek currants and bananas was $32,100,392; 
in 1914 $32,235,011 and in 1915 $23,046,778. The largest falling off was in 
figs from 20,506,000 pounds to 8,327,000, while olives dropped from 5.743,000 
gallons to 3.713,000, indicative that the state crops are becoming large 
enough to supply the country's demands without going abroad. Exports 
of domestic dried fruits increased from $28,868,000 to $36,924,000, indicating 
what strides the horticultural interests are making. Raisin importations 
which a few years ago were 40,000,000 pounds have been reduced to 1,604,000, 
the lowest on record. Records steadfastly show that imports of raisins have 
decreased while exports increased. 

Notable changes are in dried apricots from 16,541,000 pounds in 1914 
to 25,747,000 in 1915, the bulk going to England. Exports of oranges de- 
creased from 1,839,000 boxes to 1,588,000, nearly all of which for the two 
years went to Canada. Dried peaches increased from 7,387,000 pounds to 
18,720,000. Exports of California prunes increased from 35,228,000 to 50,- 
775,000 pounds, 15,677,000 going to England, 10,941,000 to Canada and 18,- 
572,000 to other European countries. Exports of raisins make a remarkable 
showing in an advance from 16,594,000 pounds for the calendar year of 
1913 to'" 2 1,688,000 in 1914 and 58,497,000 during the twelve months of 1915, 
demonstrating the results achieved by the California Associated Raisin 
Company. 

THE RABBIT DRIVE AS A SPORT 

The early colony settlers bore up with experiences to try the patience 
of the bravest, as in the times of "dry farming," when a band of roaming 
cattle would in a few hours over night devastate an entire grainfield. With 
budding vines, roofings, sprouting tree cuttings, germinating alfalfa or 
grain seed, grasshoppers have swooped down like a cloud and devoured 
every vestige of green above ground. The jack-rabbit, with which the coun- 



212 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

tr_v was infested, was the most formidable competitor. Bunny was a prolific 
breeder, and to reduce the species to save entire crops from destruction the 
rabbit drive was a valley conception. Rabbit proof wire fencing, tubular 
tree protectors and poison were no protection. The drive was made the 
occasion of a popular outpouring and a community recreation, cruel as was 
the sport as some classified the drive. 

Described in brief the drive required a large wire-screen fenced-in 
corral, seven feet high, varying in diameter, the entrance narrow and chute 
like, provided with gate and the corral approached by lateral wings spread- 
ing half a mile and more in length screened three feet high. Men, women, 
children in carriages, vehicles of every description, on horse, afoot, were 
started often by the quickstep of a band in a line abreast and with whoop-up 
and as much noise as possible moved over the land to be covered, driving 
the rabbits in the brush and everything else in front of them in the direction 
of the corral. The aim was to continually move forward and to keep the 
rabbits before and prevent retreat to the rear of the onmoving line. Excite- 
ment ran high as the rabbits were driven between the wings to certain de- 
struction, rushing and crowding into the corral, frightened almost to death 
by the roar of shouts and yells. 

Once driven in in solid living mass, the gate was closed and the indis- 
criminate slaughter began in the corral to the accompanying shouts and 
noice of the excited populace and the terrified almost hum^n cries of Bunny. 
Hundreds committed suicide by rushing against the wire fence and knock- 
ing themselves senseless. Corral fence was lined outside with onlooking 
busy spectators to knock on the head any rabbit attempting to force an 
escape under the wire. The bloody work within the corral was swiftly 
accomplished in time. Sometimes the eflfort was made to count the slaughter. 
As often it was not. Often the corral and the entrance would be covered 
several feet deep with carcasses of dead rabbits. The slaughter was fre- 
quently immense. These two-hour drives were attended by hundreds and 
even by thousands, exciting as much popular interest at first as the old 
time rodeo. 

Coyotes, badgers, skunks and other animals were not infrequently 
caught in the drive to death. Carcasses were taken away to hogs and chick- 
ens, but the greater part was left on the field to be later buried. These drives 
had their effect for a time in districts in depopulating the Bunnv tribe. The 
destruction of the rabbit as well as that of the ground squirrel was at all 
times encouraged. The interests of the farmer demanded it in self preserva- 
tion. The encouragement took the form at various periods in five-dollar 
bounty for a coyote scalp, five cents on rabbit and ground squirrel and two 
cents on gopher, appropriations by the county for wire fencing for com- 
munal district drives, extermination by poison and campaign taken up and 
conducted on systematic lines by federal authority as a measure against 
the spread of bubonic plague and communicable diseases "for the destruction 
of agricultural pests serving no known purpose in nature's economic plan." 

^^'ith the passing of the years, the rabbit drive as a sport unique in the 
San Joaquin Valley was neglected and became almost unknown to the 
younger generation. It was with the increase of the rabbits revived on a 
comparatively small scale as community afifairs during the 1917-18 season 
with the introduction of the farm adviser bureau. A fish packing company 
from Monterey was in the field with offer to buy up the carcasses for canning 
in_ an expected meat food scarcity by reason of the war. These revived 
drives, however, lacked the popular, picturesque and spectacular features of 
those of the early days of farming on the plains when they were gala occa- 
sions attended by the thousands as on the lines of the rodeos of the 
cattle davs. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 213 

Romance? The greatest chapter in the stor}' of the state and of the 
county is that which tells of the farm and the marvelous transformation 
from the mining camp to the farm — the small farm with the certain and 
lasting wealth greater than all that was wrung from mine and placer. Nord- 
hoff of whom allusion has been made before was enamored of California 
even in the infant days of fanning and was amazed with what he beheld 
in the big interior valleys, likening the San Joaquin to "a region as rich 
as the Nile." Contrasting what he saw in 1871 and what he beheld ten 
years later in this valley, he remarked: 

"The remarkable change that came about is due to the small farmers, 
for it was the}' who year after year discovered what the soil and climate 
produced best, perfecting raisin culture, proving the value of the apricot 
and prune, the olive, the fig, the orange and lemon, etc., introducing prac- 
tically the profitable dried fruit business and bringing alfalfa, the boon of 
the small farmer, to its greatest development perfection. This was accom- 
plished by the small farmers when they were comparatively few as to num- 
bers. They sought at first the plain, because it was the most available place, 
instead of the sheltered foothill lands which the grain men had appropriated. 
Experience has demonstrated that the settlement of small farmers in colonies 
is the ideal condition rather than the scattered individual farms for many 
and obvious reasons." 

And liis final word to all who might turn their faces toward California 
was that it is no country for idlers or "clerks," but "a paradise for men who 
will work with their hands, and the better if they will also put brains into 
their work." 

CHAPTER XXXVIII 

Possibilities of Cotton Culture in the Valley. Warning is 
Given Against a Repetition of the Mistakes After the 
Civil War. The Egyptian Variety is Recommended. Fig 
Production Will Play an Important Role. Four Varieties 
Are of Demonstrated Worth. Currant Grape is Another 
Commercial Factor of the Raisin Belt in Competition 
With the Old World. 

Three new agricultural possibilities are receiving attention in Fresno 
County — cotton, fig and currant grape growing, besides the experimenta- 
tions with rice and Turkish tobacco. A revival of interest in the possibilities 
of cotton culture resulted in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys from 
favorable reports of experimental plantings. The idea that cotton could 
become an important crop in California has been persistent with the rapid 
development of the production in recent vears in the Imperial and Colorado 
Valleys. 

The warning is given by the Department of Agriculture that the mis- 
takes of the ante bellum efforts of the 60's be not repeated. In the period 
of high prices following the Civil War, short staple cotton was grown in 
commercial quantities in this valley, and importations of Southern negroes 
were even made to promote its culture. The eflforts were abandoned as 
soon as normal conditions were restored in the southern states. European 
war conditions and high prices are making even short staple cotton a prof- 
itable Californian crop, but there is little prospect of maintaining a short 
staple industry after normal conditions are again restored. 

The danger of the direct competition with the south is to be avoided. 
Instead of the short staple upland type of cotton of the southern belt, it is 
of distinct advantage to the southwestern farmers to plant Egyptian cotton. 



214 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

It is adapted to the conditions of the irrigated valleys of Arizona and Cali- 
fornia. With cotton as with every other crop, a failure to take account of 
differences in varieties may lead to costly failures. The Egyptian differs 
from the upland variety as a taller and more slender plant with narrower 
leaf-lobes and smaller bolls. This last feature has led southerners to believe 
that the yield must be small, whereas the Egyptian often yields very well, 
a 500-pound bale or more per acre having been obtained on many farms in 
the Salt River Valley of Arizona. 

Thirty thousand acres of the Eg^'ptian grown in the valley in 1917 
gave a return to the farmers estimated at $5,000,000. Estimates from it and 
other valleys indicate that nearly 100,000 acres would be planted in 1918 in 
Arizona. The Arizona varieties have been grown not only in the Yuma, 
Palo Verde and Imperial Valleys of Southern California, but have been 
found well adapted to the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley around 
Bakersfield and Fresno, and in 1917 grew and ripened satisfac- 
torily at several points in the two great interior valleys. The season may 
have been unusually favorable for cotton ripening in the Sacramento Valley. 

The scarcity of extra-staple cotton may be appreciated from the fact 
that seventy to eighty cents a pound was paid for superior grades of the 
Arizona grown Egyptian for which twenty-five cents was considered a good 
price. 

There were other considerations in this connection, but if the needs 
of American manufacturers for cotton of the Egyptian type are to be met by 
a home production the call would be for the planting of several hundred 
thousands of acres. Experts' figures are that California's central valleys 
can produce more cotton to the acre than any other region in the world. 
The California yield is 400 pounds per acre with 315 as the next highest 
in Virginia for thirteen cotton growing states, and with Texas 157 pounds. 

State university experiments at the Kearney Estate are that California 
is able because of the climate and the soil conditions and when one kind of 
cotton is grown to produce the finest grade outside of Egypt. An influence 
working detrimentally in all areas is the diversity of varieties produced. 
Cotton cross-pollinates readily and when varieties are grown in the same 
community crossing is brought about by wind and insects, causing deteriora- 
tion in quantity and quality of yield of each. This has been demonstrated by 
conditions in the Imperial Valley, where many varieties are grown so close 
together that at this time no superior variety possesses superior quality or 
yield. 

Agitation of the subject in Fresno has resulted in the formation here 
of the California Egyptian Cotton Growers' Association after an unequivocal 
declaration in favor of using every effort to confine planting in the central 
part of the state to the Egyptian long staple variety and to urge the potential 
cotton growers of two valleys to do their own ginning on a cooperative plan. 
Quite generally through the San Joaquin the counties passed at the associa- 
tion's instance ordinance similar to the one enacted on Washington's Birth- 
day, 1918, in Fresno as the first prohibiting the planting of any save Egyp- 
tian cotton. Several cotton planting enterprises have been incorporated. 
One of them known as the Fresno Liberty Cotton Company will cultivate 
1,000 acres of Miller & Lux land near Oxalis on the west side of the county 
on both sides of the railroad. 

_ One of the very first results of the passage of the Fresno ordinance 
limiting character of the planting was an action at law in the federal court 
by an Imperial Valley grower attacking the ordinance after a shipment of 
short staple cotton staple seed had been seized at Firebaugh for condemna- 
tion. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 215 

FIG CULTIVATION BOOMING 

As the result of a fig institute held in January, 1918, and taking a lesson 
out of the book of experience of the raisin, peach and other fruit growers, 
the California Fig Growers' Association has been formed in Fresno with 
Henry Markarian, a pioneer fig grower as the first president of this latest of 
cooperative organizations. 

Its objects will be to act as a cooperative marketing agency and as 
such set at each season a standard minimum price for the different varieties 
of figs to all growers, to plant a Capri fig orchard in a thermal belt of the 
San Joaquin as suggested by Mr. Markarian to be maintained by the associa- 
tion for early caprification and as a dependable supply source at minimum 
cost and eventually to make a better or standard uniform pack of figs, fol- 
lowing on the lines that the raisin and peach men are pursuing in their market- 
ing of their products. A first step in February was to advance for 1918 the 
prices about forty dollars a ton for all varieties on future sales. A fig exhibit 
will be made and the suggestion has been favorably received to promote a 
California Fig Day similar to the Fresno Raisin Day for the mutual benefit 
of growers and consumers. 

It is not many years ago that merchants in California and in the East 
as well were of the decided opinion that this state would never produce a 
fig equal to the imported. The prejudice has been overcome. Figs have 
been grown in California for over 100 years. The padres brought them in 
the variety that has been named the Mission Black. In later years the 
California White Adriatic was introduced and fifteen years ago the Cali- 
myrna fig — the name a contraction of California-Smyrna — from Europe 
through the efforts of George C. Roeding. From a very small beginning, 
with the figs in many cases allowed to go to waste, trees neglected and 
principally used for shade, the industry began to be a factor seventeen years 
ago when small and indifferent packs were shipped. 

During the year 1917 the estimate of W. F. Toomey, mayor of Fresno 
and one of the chief fig shippers in the county, is that between 6,500 and 
7,000 tons of the three varieties were shipped from this county. The major 
part of these was White Adriatic. The frost the year before had greatly 
reduced the crop. That the industry will be an important one is not only 
evidenced by the fact of thousands of trees being planted but that packing 
firms are going into the manufacture of byproducts as fig coffee, fig pulp 
or paste used in the making of cake and fig cereal. The 1916 figures present 
a fair basis for a comparison between the production of the county and the 
state, the production in other sections not showing a great increase while 
Fresno's output has increased from 1,500 to 3,000 tons: 

Variety. State. Fresno. 

White Adriatic 5,000 tons 3,800 tons 

Smyrna 600 400 

Black Mission 300 100 

California produces some 16,000,000 pounds of figs, mostly Adriatics. Be- 
fore the European war, there was an importation of 20,000.000 pounds an- 
nually mainly of the Smyrna variety. During the next ten years there will 
be gradually produced from California fig orchards planted and being planted 
an additional 20,000,000 pounds. The optimistic look to see in the next 
twentv years a production in California and largely in the vicinity of Fresno 
of 100,000,000 pounds and each year better figs and better packed, for it 
is argued if the 100,000,000 Americans are going to eat American figs there 
must be American methods of growing and of packing and in this connection 
the word American means Californian in so far as the fig is concerned. 



216 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Of the figs grown in Fresno, "The Garden of the Sun" — as it has been 
denominated in the latest slogan officially adopted by the county chamber 
of commerce — there are four varieties that have demonstrated their particu- 
lar value and merit. The Black Mission is the oldest and most frequently 
found under cultivation. It is a heavy producer, particularly desirable for 
bakers' use and a good short distance shipper when green. Next comes the 
Adriatic, also a heavy producer, of fine appearance and suited to many uses. 
The Smyrna is the recognized fig for drying and unsurpassed for packing 
qualities. The Kadota is a luscious and golden-yellow-hued fruit whose 
strongest recommendation is as a green shipper to most distant continental 
markets in refrigerator cars as are grapes and other fruit, arriving in eastern 
markets in such fine condition that for two seasons it has commanded prices 
ranging from fifteen to fifty cents a pound, meaning from $300 to $1,000 a 
ton. It is a favorite for cooking purposes and the fact that no caprification 
is required to produce a crop is an important point. When caprified, it is 
of size equal to the Sm3'rna, takes on an added appearance for shipping and 
is materially improved. The smaller variety of the fig which is about thirty 
percent, of the crop is in demand b}' canners and for glace fruit and it lends 
itself to the other uses that the fruit is put to. 

The J. C. Forkner Fig Gardens are one of the wonders in the process of 
the development of the fig in Fresno County — a great fig orchard of 5,000 
acres not to be held by a corporation but subdivided for homes and in prepa- 
ration for them an adjunct nursery that has 200,000 cuttings growing and 
flourishing. The buyer of the land is permitted to plant whichever variety 
he chooses. By far the greater majority of the figs planted and to be planted 
are the Calimyrna, with 500 acres in the spring of 1919 to the Kadota. The 
territory under development is a 10,000-acre tract near the San Joaquin 
River, north of the city. It is land that has been slighted and neglected be- 
cause it is of the so-called "hog wallow" conformation and lacking as long 
claimed depth of soil because the hard pan is so close to the surface, neces- 
sitating the use of dynamite in penetrating that hard pan to the soil under- 
neath. 

An imaginative writer has declared that it required 6.000 years to bring 
about a full realization of the fig gardens of Smyrna and at most there are 
20,000 acres monopolizing a world's trade. Here on the outskirts of Fresno 
City beginning has been made on a great orchard of 5,000 acres, one-fourth 
the size and promising of a greater production than that of the old world. 
Below the protecting hard pan surface was revealed a stratum of from five 
to fifteen feet of soil and analysis has proven it to be ideal for the fig. The 
way to this subsoil has to be dynamited and the land of hog wallow knolls 
levelled during the first year. During the first year in this planting work 
$12,000 worth of dynamite was used. For the second $3,000 worth is being 
used monthly. In this plan to plant 5,000 acres, 1,500 have been put in; for 
1918 ground is in preparation for 2,000 and for 1919 1,500 with all the prepar- 
atory work and -the growing of the serving nursery. 

A beginning was made with 10,000 acres of land. Four thousand of 
these were sold before conceiving the plan of the 5,000-acre fig garden. The 
original idea was to handle the tract as millions of other acres in the state 
have been previously subdivided and sold. The fig garden came as a later 
inspiration. No nursery would of its own initiative plant 200,000 or even 
100,000 fig cuttings because forsooth no nursery in the history of the 
state had ever sold 200,000 or 100,000 in a year. No nursery could undertake 
this risk. This suggested the adjunct nursery in a frostless, foothill section, 
every fig cutting from the 160 acres of Henry Markarian, the pioneer fig 
grower, was bought and 500,000 planted and today the day is awaited when 
200,000 fig trees will be planted. It is the most marvelous fig nurserv stock 
the world has seen. The time is coming when the 5,000 acres will' be fig 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 217 

producers and continue to be after many a man, woman and child in the 
community will long have been forgotten with the passing of tlie years 
for the fig like the olive is of long life. It will be the day when California 
through Fresno will be controlling the world's production and market of 
the fig. 

CURRANT AND SHIPPING GRAPES 

Another predicted industry is that of the currant grape and a great 
one if taken up on commercial lines by the vineyardists of the San Joaquin 
Valley. George C. Husman, pomologist in charge of viticultural investiga- 
tion for the United States Department of Agriculture, states as the result 
of trials and tests at the government's experimental station at Fresno Vine- 
yards Company's property with more than 500 varieties of grapes that it 
is no longer an experiment but that the growing of currants as a com- 
mercial factor should be vigorously pursued by the growers of the state 
and notably in the raisin belt and established as a variety of California's 
^orld controlling raisin industry. From Greece, the Zante currant so-called 
of commerce has been yearly imported in quantity of 45,000,000 pounds but 
now as the result of the war the currant country has become devastated or 
neglected and it is the opportunity for the vineyardists to plant currant 
grape vines. 

There is the important fact that the currant grape may be harvested, 
cured and stored for consumption before the harvest of the raisin crop com- 
mences. This solves the labor problem as vineyardists may give employ- 
ment for months before the Thompson's, Muscats and other varieties are 
placed on the trays for sun curing. Testing out the annual incision of the 
currant vine to promote the successful setting of the fruit of this variety, 
experiments have led up to the quadrupling of the crop on particular vines. 
The currant vine will bear within three years and in production will surpass 
the Muscat and equal the Thompson and the Sultana. 

Attention has also been paid to the development of a real choice produc- 
tive variety of table, shipping and storage grapes. Investigation shows de- 
cidedly that the higher quality of grapes of better shipping, storage and sell- 
ing qualities than those grown for that purpose has been developed and 
there is no hesitancy in the declaration that among these varieties are such 
as the Ohanez which stands in a class by itself so far as late storage and 
keeping qualities are concerned. This is the variety that for so many years 
has been so extensively cultivated and imported from the Malaga districts 
of Spain, at least 1,600,000 barrels of these grapes packed in cork dust coming 
into this country. 

The California Wine Association has given the Agricultural Department 
a fifty-year lease, with annual renewal, on the experimental property so 
that experiments may be undertaken by the government without fear of 
molestation before the work is complete. 



218 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

M. Theo. Kearney, the Man of Mystery in Private Life, the 
Autocrat in Public. He Lived in Solitary Grandeur in a 
Chateau Without Companion or Friend. As a Personage 
He Was Popularly Misunderstood. Yet No Other Rich 
Man of the County Has Made a Greater Public Benefac- 
tion. Died Unattended on the High Seas. Championed the 
Formation of the First Raisin Growers' Association. Sand 
Lot Kearney Set Up Claim of Heirship on a First Cousin 
Relationship. 

Germane to the story of the raisin industry, an important chapter would 
deal with the life and public career of M. Theo. Kearney, so notable in the 
business activities of the county. He was a remarkable character and per- 
sonage. In private life, he was the man of unfathomable mystery. In public 
life, he was the autocrat, overbearing, uncompromising- — a very "bull in a 
china shop." He died without clearing the mystery of his life that was the 
subject of so much discussion and conjecture. 

After his death, not even the oldest or most trusted employe could with 
certaintv affirm what his age was, nor what his nativity. No man so prom- 
inentlv in a public career for a time was so widely known and so little 
known also. To suggest that he was an Irishman was to give affront. He 
maintained on the rare occasions when it is recalled that he ever let slip 
any information concerning his antecedents, that he was Liverpool born 
and came with parents to Boston at an early age. In style, comportment 
and grooming, he posed as an Englishman, and by many was taken as 
one. He lived the life of a crabbed bachelor, without close friend or bosom 
confidant, in solitary grandeur in the erected wing of an ambitious chateau 
designed after an historical French feudal castle. He died suddenly from 
heart trouble on May 26, 1906, at sea in his stateroom on the steamship 
Caronia, Europe bound, attended as in life by no friend or sympathizer. 
The remains were cremated upon arrival at Queenstown and in time were 
received at the Kearney estate, where the metallic box container is the subject 
of no one's care, solicitude or reverence but is shifted from here to there 
as a thing which for the space it covers is neither useful nor ornamental. 

Kearney was either a man of fair lineage, who had a past great dis- 
appointment or woe in life to turn him cynical, or he was a parvenu, who 
having met with financial success in new surroundings would have it 
thought that he was patrician, wherefore silence as to his past was the 
safest course to pursue in blocking inquiry, the while living up to the pre- 
tension. The fact is that nothing certain is known as to his antecedents, or 
early life. His age, birth, and ancestry were never the subject of communion 
even with the oldest business associate. His acquaintances — friends he did 
not court — never went beyond the cold business relationship. Effort has 
been made to weave a romance into his life's history in that his souring 
upon the world was in consequence of a disappointment in love. Nobody 
knows. No woman ever passed the portals under the tiled roof of his cha- 
teau. He was brusquely coarse in withholding invitation to enter when, 
chaperoned by male, one visited the well kept flower gardens and spacious 
grounds of Kearney Park, also known as the Fruit Vale Estate. So deep 
rooted was this antipathy against the sex that never a female servant was 
countenanced about Chateau Fresno. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 219 

There is one remembered exception of a female guest at the Chateau. It 
was the occasion of a theatrical engagement in Fresno of Lily Langtry, "The 
Jersey Lily," with whose name that of an heir apparent to the British throne 
was once on gossip's tongue. She was Kearney's guest at the Chateau at 
lunch. It may have been the time she became, in Federal court in San Fran- 
cisco, an American citizeness to take up land near Calistoga. Kearney's equi- 
pages in the days of horse-drawn or horseless vehicles were always the very 
latest. He himself drove his four-in-hand to town for her and returned her to 
her special car, and the town talked about it for days after. 

Kearney was ever the well groomed man of fashion. He was a lover 
of the beautiful, of the esthetic. He had the means to indulge himself. The 
Chateau Fresno Estate and everything about it is proof of his love for the 
beautiful, if proof were needed. He loved horses and he was an expert 
handler of them. This was his only known leaning in the line of sports. 
His equipages were the English drag, high-trap and the four-in-hand tally-ho, 
but he was always the solitary driver or rider in the absence of attendant. He 
was never credited with knowledge of music yet had a collection of libretti 
of the best known operas. His esthetic spirit was reflected in the wall paper 
designs of the chateau and in the pictures that hung from the walls, some of 
these replica of works of art. and in the furniture and furnishings. Lovely 
woman was the theme of most of the pictures. However lowly his own origin, 
his surroundings evinced a taste that the most critical could not but approve. 

Many a storv has been told of his admiration for and attentions to the 
fair sex. His collection of pictures of actresses was a large and interesting 
one. Some were autographed. The Jersey Lily's was a prized one. Pictures 
mav have been personally presented. More than likelv they were store 
purchases of stage beauties and celebrities of the day. Thousands of others 
possessed these same photographic creations of Bradley & Rulofson, of Taber, 
of Marceau. Coming to Fresno, Kearney had business association credentials 
that had he the means then to indulge in the luxury could have given him 
entree into the society of the nouveau riches. At the least thej^ brought him 
in touch with the jeunesse doree in the mining stock broker and the real es- 
tate class. A home in San Francisco he never had. After fortune smiled on 
him, he was a frequent visitor to the city and the guest at the most prominent 
hostelry there or at Calistoga Springs or at Del Monte on vacations. 

He may have had renewed social yearnings in his later days. It was not 
at all impossible to have made the acquaintanceship of stage celebrities. The 
possession is readily explainable of the photographs in his day of such stage 
divinities as Lily Langtry, of Adelaide Neilson most beautiful of Juliets (pic- 
ture was, in fact, taken after her death out of her book), of Alice Dunning 
Lingard, stunning English beauty, who, with her sister, Dickie, popularized 
"Tlie Two Orphans," French melodrama in San Francisco : of Fanny Daven- 
port and Ada Rehan as Daly's comedy leading ladies, of Clara Morris, emo- 
tional actress, of Alice Oates, comic opera singer; of Ida Scott Siddons, loveli- 
est of dramatic readers, but lacking the genius of her theatrical ancestress, 
Sarah Siddons, greatest English actress of her day and times; of Bella Bate- 
man, Elbe Wilton and Belle Chapman cf the old California Theater Stock 
Company; of Kate Castlcton, the bewitching, of the "For Goodness' Sake, 
Don't Say I Told You" song of the little Quakeress; of Helene Modjeska 
(Countess Bozenta), Polish and English speaking tragedienne, and of a host 
of others, whose pictures might have been found on the dresser of the man of 
fashion. 

European travel, no doubt, polished of? some of Kearney's western 
rough edges and at Bad Nauheim and on the transatlantic voyages undoubt- 
edly he met personages of rank, station and gentle breeding to account for 
his numbered and labeled photographic collection. He was himself included 
in some of the pictured groupings. He had one photograph of the German 
royal familv with the ex-kaiser as the central figure. This is not to inti- 



220 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

mate that he hob-nobbed with royalty, even though the ex-kaiser was very 
liberal with his autographed photos. 

He lived a life of solitary grandeur, sitting majestically alone at table, 
wearing out his heart in this strange sequestered existence, without friend 
or companion, and playing the grand role of cynic and misanthrope, sur- 
rounded by the luxuries that wealth commanded, and amassing a valuable 
estate with not a relative in the world to bequeath it to upon death. There 
was a tragic solemnity in his singular life. It was given a farcical turn 
when after his death, Dennis Kearney, he of the San Francisco sandlot 
agitation days, came forward to claim heirship on a pretended first cousin 
relationship with no more apparent basis for the assertion than his own 
self-serving statements. Right here, be it noted that M. Theo. Kearney pro- 
nounced his name "Karney." and took oiifense and petulantly corrected who- 
soever ignorantly addressed him as "Kurney." Dennis Kearney, who passed 
away at Alameda in April the year after, and before death assigned formally 
to a married daughter his inheritance claims, asserted under oath that the 
real name of his kinsman was jNIichael Timothy Kearney. This heirship 
claim was effectually disposed of at an early stage on a petition for a partial 
distribution of the estate. The decision was sustained on the appeal taken 
by the daughter after her father's death, so that the disposition of the Fruit 
Vale Estate was as contemplated by the testator. 

Cold and impartial history must record that no man in Fresno County 
was more generally and cordially disliked — hated is perhaps too strong a 
term — than was M. Theo. Kearney, as he signed his name. This he was 
cognizant of. It may have been one reason for his reclusive existence. May- 
be, it was a reason for ofifering' himself sacrificially on the commercial altar 
as a martyr in the cause of the raisin men. Mayhap, it was a moving cause 
for his bequest to the people of the state in amelioration of the past, and 
yet how otherwise could he have disposed of it, in view of his disinheritance 
of any legal heir, if living? Nobody knows. At any rate, there was no 
change in the attitude and bearing of the man during life, so that it is a 
question whether he was actuated in either act by placating motives. At 
home in Fresno, he was not known socially, never was seen at a social 
function, or even at a place of public amusement. It is doubtful whether he 
had the entree to one private home. His acquaintances were limited by 
choice apparently to business connections. He was a frequent business 
visitor to San Francisco and known at the principal hotel, but his life there 
was as sequestered as at the chateau. 

And yet after his death and after his will was made public, men had 
one considerate, charitable word for him. That will condoned sins of omis- 
sion and commission of the past. In the history of Fresno, of all the 
rich men that have died, none has made such a princely public gift as did 
M. Theo. Kearney, the man from whom it was the least expected. In that 
will, he bequeathed everything to the Regents of the University of Cali- 
fornia with the direction that the Fruit Vale Estate be created a station to 
be called the "Kearney Experimental Station" as an adjunct of the College 
of Agriculture in accordance with views embodied by him in a document 
in the possession of his attorney. The estate has been distributed in accord- 
ance with the will to the regents, and with their entering into possession 
in trust for the state one large asset item was stricken from the county 
assessment roll. 

When the regents were considering establishing an agricultural branch 
college in the north central part of the state and were asking for site dona- 
tions, Kearney offered 180 acres of his estate gratis to secure the location 
for Fresno as the typical irrigation district. The offer was declined and the 
branch was located at Davisville in Sacramento County. Great was the 
local chagrin. In time the state came in not for a part of the estate as a gift. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 221 

but for all of it as a bequest. It has not been executed in the establishment 
of the branch college and consequently there has been newspaper and public 
ill-considered and unjust criticism, with the insinuation that the regents 
have diverted the income from the Fresno property to equip, improve and 
maintain the other establishment. The truth is that in round numbers the 
estate has a valuation of about one million, was indebted for a quarter of a 
million and has a yearly income of about $50,000. The regents have made 
many improvements, notably expending over $25,000 in a tile drainage sys- 
tem for the reclamation scientifically of an alkalized section of land, and 
cleared the estate of debt, besides continuing all its activities. 

The cold truth is that after cost of maintenance the estate does not 
provide an endowment fund sufificient to establish the college with build- 
ings, faculty, laboratories, apparatus and all the necessaries for an institu- 
tion such as the landed gift warrants and contemplates, while at the same 
time making use of that land with a management and retinue of laborers to 
continue the revenue. The condition of the accepted trust that the branch 
be called the "Kearney Experiment Station" would probably preclude other 
philanthropically minded making an endowment to help perpetuate the name 
and memory of a man with whom the later donor was in no wise associated, 
or to aid with gift an enterprise that may not appeal to him as strongly as 
it did the originator. The least, however, that the regents could have done 
in these years would have been to give the box of ashes prominent entomb- 
ment on the grounds with a monument in memory of the man in recognition 
of his gift to promote the science of agriculture. 

In the later years of his life, it was the annual summer practice of Mr. 
Kearney to journey to Europe to take treatment of the medical waters at 
Bad Nauheim in Germany. He left on his last journey on May 9, 1906, and 
the news of his death at sea was received on the 29th, three days after 
the fact. He was a sufferer from cardiac trouble and subject to attacks of 
heart failure. Fle was in San Francisco during the fire and earthquake in 
April but escaped from the scene of destruction in his automobile.. Out- 
wardly calm and imperturbable, which was his characteristic bearing, the 
general excitement undoubtedly aggravated his ailment. He was aged about 
sixty, claimed to have been born in Liverpool a fact not disclosed by a 
searching examination of the parish birth records, was probably of Irish 
parentage, and asserted American citizenship by virtue of his father's natu- 
ralization of which there was no proof. In politics he took so little interest 
that it is doubtful whether he ever registered to vote. 

According to affidavits filed in a threatened contest of the will dated at 
Chateau Fresno Park November 1, 1905, the family came to Boston to live 
and there presumably he attended the common schools. The story is that 
the father was a victim of drink, that the family was at times in semi desti- 
tution, an older brother died, and the mother's death followed from a broken 
heart, in short that early in life he was left in the world without kith or kin. 
The wretched death of his father and the sorrows of his home life so im- 
pressed him that fearful of falling into the habit by inheritance he signed 
the pledge as an abstainer from liquor. 

M. Theo. Kearney may be said to have been a good theoretical and' 
speculative business man, but he lacked the qualifications to make a success- 
ful executive. He was a forceful and terse writer, showing that he had a 
good elementary education but nothing more. In all his writings and pub- 
lished appeals, addresses and raisin association arguments and discussions 
is an utter lack of historical, literary or scientific allusion or quotation save 
the most commonplace and familiar. A man of aiTairs supervising large un- 
dertakings, he was no bookkeeper. Until his appearance in San Francisco 
in the earlv 70's as a clerk with W. S. Chapman, whose name recalls the 
earliest large Fresno land speculative operation, there is a long unfilled 



222 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

gap in Kearney's life from the days in Boston. Evident that his business 
connections in San Francisco gave him some standing in the community in 
a secondary capacity, there is proof of his efifort "to break into society," 
and of not infrequent vacation visits to the fashionable watering and sum- 
mer resorts of the day. His coming to Fresno was in 1873 or 1874 and his 
arrival on a rainy night has been recalled as that of a dapper young fellow 
in a long duster and carrying a hand satchel, unknown, unacquainted but 
backed by self assurance and good credentials. He was profitably associated 
with Chapman in the sale of a tract on the San Joaquin, and through this 
connection was appointed about 1877 agent of the Bank of California in the 
sale of a 2,S00-acre subdivision of the Easterby rancho. 

Some years elapsed before he came through some speculative arrange- 
ment into possession of 3,000 acres of what became the Fruit Vale Estate, 
ten miles west of Fresno townsite, put it under irrigation and in time sold 
about one-half of the acreage to settlers under cast-iron contracts to improve 
and plant the land, conditionally upon forfeiture of everything in case of 
delinquency in installment payments, with twelve percent, compound in- 
terest on deferred payments. The highly improved and beautified estate 
domain embracing 5,182 acres is approached from the city at the western 
terminus of Fresno Street by Kearney Boulevard, an eleven-mile-long wind- 
ing triple driveway, lined and shaded with palms, alternate white and red 
flowering oleanders, pampas grass clumps and eucalyptus trees. It is a 
show driveway over which every visitor is taken to view Kearney Park on 
sight-seeing tours. This boulevard Mr. Kearney in his life-time donated to 
the county as a public thoroughfare for which gift the populace gave him 
scant thanks or credit. The boulevard is advertized as one of the attrac- 
tions of Fresno and has been compared with pride to the Alameda, San 
Jose's famous driveway. 

The estate comprises 250 acres in a central park surrounding the 
chateau, fifty acres in oranges, twenty-five in olives. 850 in Muscat grapes, 
4,000 in alfalfa, and also a dairy farm. At the main entrance of the park 
stands a castellated lodge. The Chateau Fresno project was never completed 
because of his precarious health, though plans with that end in view were 
under consideration at the time of his death, ^^'ith his solitary life, the 
necessity for enlarging the structure, or even the reason for its original 
conception, are not apparent. It was perhaps only a rich man's folly or whim. 

During the panic of 1893 many of the land buyers defaulted in their 
payments. Kearney enforced the forfeiture clause, increased his holdings 
by seizing possession of the lands and improvements of the purchasing ten- 
nantry, held on to every cent of money payments made, foreclosed mort- 
gages, enriched himself and turned the unfortunates out of home and living, 
bankrupt, whether man of family or single, widow or maid. He was con- 
sistent in making no distinctions. The feeling of bitterness against him was 
intense and general, and he was execrated and ostracised. He enforced for- 
feitures through the courts and was sustained. Shylock like, he demanded 
what was his, even though to the pound of flesh, and the courts awarded it, 
for was it not so nominated in the bond? Yet such same Shylock contracts 
are enforced today in all lines of business and excite no longer even ripple 
or murnisr of comment. They were yet new in his time, but heartless was 
the manner of their enforcement to fatten on the misfortune of others. In 
cited cases the victim was inveigled by fair promises to mortgage to make 
improvements, hence the execration. The Kearney Vineyard Company was 
incorporated about 1900 and efifort was made to float the shares in Europe, 
but no sales were made. 

Kearney's public career begins with the organization of the first Cali- 
fornia Raisin Growers' Association. He was prominent as an advocate in 
the long agitation and campaign resulting in its formation. The growers 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 223 

hailed him as the Moses to lead them to the promised land of a stable market 
and good prices. In the formation of the association, his pooling plan was 
given preference over T. C. White's capitalization scheme on a basis of a 
minimum two and one-half cents per pound. Fifty percent, of the acreage 
signed up in the pool, and on June 4th the association was organized with 
M. Theo. Kearney (President), T. C. White, Louis Einstein, W. S. Porter, 
Robert Boot, L. S. Chittenden and A. L. Sayre as directors. In the be- 
ginning it had general support and hopeful stability was given an industry 
which without organization had carried the grower to the ragged edge of 
financial despair. So notable was the early financial success that it was the 
boast that growers paid off mortgages as never before in years, and general 
were the prosperity, good feeling and better times brought on through co- 
operation. 

In time differences developed as to policies, intolerance of opposition 
and clashes in opinions created factions of Kearneyites and .\nti-Kearney- 
ites, and this warfare continued through the life of the association pool, 
fostered by the commercial packers in opposition to it, and led ultimately 
to its undoing. In this unfortunate state of affairs, Kearney displayed often 
the characteristics that so marked him in his business relations and asso- 
ciations with his fellow men. He petulantly resigned to enforce his con- 
tentions without, however, ceasing to serve, and at another time refused or 
declined to serve, the while remaining in office, though no longer persona 
grata. The public, fickle as a drab, shouted for him at one time, cried him 
down at another. One year it hooted him out of the assembly hall dishon- 
ored and repudiated at the close of his term ; the very next year it acclaimed 
him joyfully and almost unanimously reelected him to the directorate. It 
was declared that he must truly have been of Irish blood for to fight was 
his nature, and he was never more urbane than when embroiled. 

His character was such, however, as to brook no opposition, scorning 
the best meant advice and refusing pacific compromise measures, once he 
had set his mind on a purpose and plan. He had in the time of success a 
large following that regarded him as the one man in the raisin business 
that was in experience and temperament most peculiarly fitted to cope with 
the presented details of the situation. He was haughty, imperious and arbi- 
trary. He exhibited a frigid friendship for him that could aid or whose 
services he was in need of: he had no consideration but contempt for him 
that opposed him and took no pains to conceal the fact. He was skilful as 
a politician but by methods the reverse of the usual artifices of the politician. 
He antagonized instead of placating many helpful agencies in the unsigned 
growers, in the commercial packers and in the banking interests, so that a 
continual warfare was maintained, the factional strife became bitter and 
personal, and the end was the desertion and disruption of the association. 
It will not be denied that Kearney was the first leading grower and citizen 
to awaken the raisin grower to the need of associated cooperation and to 
present a practical working plan that more judicially operated would have 
been successful but for his intolerance of the opinions of others, an exag- 
gerated estimate of his own importance and a rasping domination in attempt- 
ing to bring to bear ftpon business associates the same arrogance that marked 
his relations with hired dependents on the estate. 

Said it has been that Kearney died of a broken heart over the monu- 
mental failure of his raisin association. What was his own opinion of that 
failure and his ill-requited efforts? Fortunately he left the answer to the 
question in a written memorandum that after his death was found among his 
effects. This incomprehensible cynic had penned the following words: 



224 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

When the time comes to write my epitaph, the following might 
well be copied: 

WARNING. 

Here lies the body of M. Theo Kearney, a visionary who 
thought he could teach the average farmer, and, particularly, the 
raisin grower, some of the rudiments of sound business manage- 
ment. For eight years he worked strenuously at his task, and at 
the end of that time, he was no farther ahead than at the beginning. 
The effort killed him. M. THEO. KEARNEY. 

The same spirit tinged his will. It was drawn by one of the most skilful 
lawyers, and the one he most trusted in the delicate legal questions con- 
nected with the raisin association. For one who had ever maintained that 
he had no kin in the world, he was scrupulously careful that no part of his 
estate should by any manner of means revert to any legal heir, if one sur- 
vived. The bequest to the state was in entirety, but he made also a saving 
disposition of it as a trust, in the event that it be held that the first con- 
travened the code section against bequeathing more than two-thirds to char- 
itable or eleemosynary institutions. The court ruling was that the state uni- 
versity was not an institution coming under this category. To the woman 
who could prove to be a legal wife he left fifty dollars and to any legal 
heir a dollar each, and then there was the additional specific clause directing 
that it was his desire that no portion of his estate go to legal heirs, if any 
there were living. 

Dennis Kearney claimed to have known him as a cousin in San Fran- 
cisco since 1869, when he (Dennis) was a steamship dock foreman. He told 
a story that the relationship had been acknowledged in mutual confidences 
and he gave it an amusing variant in reciting that their recognition and 
acquaintance grew out of a proposed duel that M. Theo. Kearne}' and Captain 
Floyd, steamship dock superintendent, were to have had over a girl that 
both were courting. Dennis Kearney said that he was approached to arrange 
the details for the duel on the deck of the old steamship John L. Stephens, 
but that it "ended in smoke" by reason of his friendly intervention in behalf 
of his cousin. This narrative was so laughingly improbable that no one ever 
took it seriously in any part. No detail of it was corroborated in the most 
remote degree by any offer of proof. 

Recalling the haughty bearing of M. Theo. Kearney, carried to the degree 
of superciliousness, it would have been wormwood and gall and an unbear- 
able humiliation to have been saddled with the equality of first cousinship 
with the beetle-browed, furtive-eyed and foul mouthed agitator of the sand 
lot days in San Francisco in the late 70's, and in the 80's. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XL 

The Litigious Side of the Raisin Business. Delivery Rejec- 
tions ON A Falling Market. Pettit's Long Fight as the 
Lmpoverished Seeder Machine Inventor. Early Efforts to 
Work Up a Trade in the Hand Turned Out Product. His 
Assigned Patent is Held Up as the Pioneer Against In- 
fringement, Though Anticipated Theoretically. Forsyth 
Pre-seeding Process is Rejected as Lacking Novelty. 
Liquidation of First As.sociation Lags in the Courts for 
Six Years. 

Quadrennial presidential contests or periodical "wet and dry elections" are 
apparently subjects of relatively minor moment in drawing out local news- 
paper discussion and in exciting popular interest and comment in Fresno 
County at least, compared to the recurrent campaigns of education for the 
formation of a raisin growers' association when there has been none, or to 
prolong the chartered life of an incorporated one by the signing up of a 
controlling percentage at time of expiring old contracts. The success or 
failure in marketing a year's crop of the leading specialty is regarded as a 
barometric gauge of the prosperity or lack of it in the community, and every 
one has come to believe that he is personally affected in pocket in conse- 
quence. 

The raisin is, to be sure, a big subject in Fresno, and being so it has 
been a fruitful source of litigation. Its history would be incomplete without 
allusion to that phase, now practically closed and determined as to disputed 
questions as were the many problems that grew out of the introduction of 
irrigation. The oil period is also marked by litigation that is being threshed 
out to a finality in the federal courts. Land titles were never a prolific source 
of litigation as in other counties as the result of conflicting and loosely 
awarded Spanish grants. There was only one notable grant in the county, 
^that of the Laguna de Tache, and its title was fully determined before the 
time of selling to settlers. 

Before the days of an organized raisin industry, and during the intervals 
when it was in chaotic state, differences between grower and packer, who 
purchased and marketed his product, were frequent. The disputes were most 
conspicuous as to number during periods of a falling market. Contracts were 
repudiated, deliveries declined, and product rejected, wherefore litigation 
followed mostly on the part of the grower to enforce contract. An easy 
method was afforded for repudiation and rejection under the contract itself 
in that the product was not merchantable because not properly cured, the 
grapes had been picked too green or too ripe, or had been in the rain, had 
not been properly cared for afterward and had mildewed or had become 
sanded. Rejections on a falling market were so common that the grower 
had no guarantee under his contract, and no wonder the relations between 
the parties were strained. 

Trials of this class of cases involved mainly expert testimony on both 
sides as to the condition of the product, and preponderance of reliable, dis- 
interested witnesses. The general history of this litigation shows the grower 
as favored in the results, for if need be on a falling market few would have 
been the crop deliveries that would have passed the e.xpert and exacting 
fault finder. In a later phase when the packer in turn had "combined," the 
attack was directed against the contracts but herein again the trend of de- 



226 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

cisions favored the grower and in an appealed test case the supreme court 
laid down the law and this litigious field became barren. As in accident cases 
against corporations, the general demand was for a trial by jury in these 
raisin and dried fruit cases. 

The seeded raisin machine patent was the subject of long, complicated, 
exasperating and costly litigation with two important results — to uphold the 
Pettit patent against various infringements and to rule in favor of the 
independents and against the United States Consolidated Seeded Raisin Com- 
pany, popularly called the "High Five," in control of the Pettit patent, that 
the pre-seeding process of the dried berry is not patentable because lacking 
novelty. The story of the case of George Pettit Jr. against William Forsyth 
(both dead) instituted in August, 1900, is the old one of many a notable 
creation in that the inventor enjoyed few if any of the results from the child 
of his brain, while others who secured by fair or other means control of 
the mechanism reaped the benefit and enriched themselves. 

SEEDER INVENTOR PETTIT IN COURT 

The Pettit-Forsyth case bufTetted along in the courts for ten years on 
the sea of litigation before the supreme court granted a rehearing in July, 
1910, on the decision of the appellate tribunal upholding the judgment in 
favor of Pettit, but it was also the step that ended the litigation with pay- 
ment of the judgment in April, 1911, of $9,111 on the verdict of jury in 
October, 1907 for $15,200 from which $7,581.76 was afterward remitted on 
the theory that the stock shares lost to Pettit were not of par value at the 
time. Case hung fire so long before coming to trial because as Pettit repre- 
sented in affidavit he was too poor to prosecute it, procure the evidence or 
engage an attorney to take it up, and that when he found himself in Decem- 
ber, 1898, "frozen out" of his interest he was "high and dry" financially and 
at the age of fifty-three compelled to earn a living as a day laboring mechanic. 

It was in 1894-95 that Pettit, John D. Spromer and Walter G. Hough 
experimented with the first raisin seeding machine. Associated as the Pioneer 
Seeded Raisin Mills with one hand operated machine they made efforts 
to place its product on the market through large grocers in New York and 
Brooklyn, in which last named city they were operating. It was according 
to all accounts a discouraging experience for the man whom the courts 
have declared to be the originator of the raisin seeder as a physical creation 
theoretically, mechanically and commercially, and who but for the ending 
of the litigation when it did in California was drifting helplessly on the 
current of poverty towards the Fresno poorhouse. Having completed their 
first seeder so that it would operate, they took their product to New York 
wholesale grocers, notably Austin & Nichols and Francis H. Leggett, to 
handle it for sale. Their appeal was in vain. It was not believed that 
the raisins were seeded mechanically, the seeded raisin was unheard of, 
the thing was a pretense and a fraud and they met with absolutely no 
encouragement. 

Retail grocers and bakers in New York and Brooklyn were tried with 
no better success, for who had ever heard of a machine seeded raisin? The 
offers to leave the new product on trial and make no charge were even de- 
clined, but when forced on and sold, which was not frequent, a small order 
would be the result. An artificial demand was created, notably through the 
largest retail house in Brooklyn, Lockett & Son on Fulton Street. The 
women friends of the seeders were sent for two or three days to the store to 
inquire for the Pioneer brand of seeded raisins, and thus attention was drawn 
to the article. The result was an order for a case, and Lockett & Son became 
ultimately one of the big customers of the pioneers. The retailers and bakers 
of New York were importuned and Pettit's son made the round of the baker- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 227 

ies on Third Avenue from one end to the Harlem bridge talking up the new 
article. The bakers were the first to take it up and give commercial en- 
couragement, and in one year was worked up quite a little trade in twenty- 
five pound boxes. The raisin was used in cake making and the seeded proved 
a great saving in time and labor for the girls who stoned by hand. 

Efforts such as these continued during the fall of 1894 and the spring 
of 1895 and until about August of that year when such a promising trade 
among the retailers and bakers was worked up that Austin & Nichols took 
notice, wrote apologizing for their first scant courtesy and undertook to 
handle the product on a larger scale. Pettit asserted that with this first 
seeded machine the product was of better quality than the later because the 
operators were part of the working mechanism. It was driven by hand 
power, and if fed a little too fast or not sufficiently the effect was apparent 
and the operation gauged accordingly. It took two men to operate the first 
machine, Spromer and Pettit alternating in turning the operating crank, 
not having the means to install power and apply it. According to the evi- 
dence, the first machine seeded raisins were thus put out in June, 1894, 
and the Fruit Cleaning Company of Brooklyn, the first competitor, put out 
its product in 1895, but as also claimed it did not compare, the Brooklynites 
not seeding as well and undertaking to process the raisins with flour, after 
seeding to prevent them sticking together but producing a pasty stuff that 
would not sell as readily. 

It was in December, 1895, before a pound of raisins had been seeded 
in Fresno, that Pettit and Spromer became acquainted with Forsyth in New 
York. As the result three contracts were entered into, the Forsyth Seeded 
Raisin Company was subsequently incorporated in Fresno and of the original 
stock 167 shares were issued to Pettit, reduced in time by change in capitali- 
zation and by reason of other causes to 152 in April, 1899. They were then 
sold for nonpayment of an assessment of six dollars per share and Pettit 
was at the end of his resources, bereft of whatever corporate interest he 
ever had, and with a change of management left without employment from 
which he had been unceremoniously dismissed under the new regime under 
A. Gartenlaub. Claiming that he had been literally "frozen out" of his in- 
terest, Pettit sued for the par value of the 152 shares at $100 each and non- 
assessable according to one of the three contracts entered into. 

These stipulated that for money advanced and to be advanced Pettit 
and Spromer were to devote three years to build and improve seeding ma- 
chines for which application for a patent was later made. Hough dropped 
out of the combination early and Spromer later, Pettit coming out in the 
summer of 1896 to Fresno to install machines and superintend their opera- 
tion. He and Spromer were to receive one-third of the 1,000 shares of the 
incorporation, the shares to be non-assessable and Forsyth by one of the 
contracts agreeing to protect Pettit in this regard. The third agreement was 
for Pettit's employment at $1,200 a year. It is needless to follow up all the 
ramifications of the case, because it is sufficient that the verdict of the jury 
was in favor of Pettit after a presentation of all his claims and the judg- 
ment as reduced was in the end paid after all patience and the delays of the 
law had been exhausted. 

Forsyth claimed that the business was not remunerative at the outset, 
that he expended from $8,000 to $10,000 in experimenting with pre-seeding 
processes, that Pettit's undoing was due to his own lack of business foresight, 
that he hvpothecated his shares and thus lost them and that in his pioneering 
raisin seeding he (Forsyth) financially embarrassed himself and that he met 
with hcavv losses as when packing house and machines were consumed in a 
great fire that swept almost every raisin and fruit packing house on Raisin 
Row on the line of the railroad reservation. 



228 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Forsyth died in May 1910 and his estate was valued at much less than 
he was rated popularly in his life time. He had been conspicuous in the 
raisin and business world as the pioneer commercial seeder, as the owner 
of a vineyard which with age however had retrograded and having in large 
part been uprooted was replanted to citrus fruit, and as the owner one time 
of the Forsyth building, the first constructed in the city of the modernized 
large office structures, originally tenanted as apartment rooms. Pettit sur- 
vived him and in his closing years did not suffer so acutely the pressing pinch 
of poverty. With his experiences of the past, he embraced Socialistic prin- 
ciples and at one time was actually a candidate of that faction for a municipal 
office. The judgment money that came to him in the end — and he readily 
accepted the reduced award on the theory that half a loaf is better than 
none — was after settlement with his lawyers improvidently invested in lots 
and in the erection of a house far in excess of his temporal needs and require- 
ments. The story was circulated and generally accepted that in consideration 
of his aid and evidence in support of the patent litigation in the infringement 
cases, A. Gartenlaub financed Pettit in the suit against Forsyth and thus made 
it possible to continue the long fight. In the patent cases, the testimony of 
Pettit was of the first importance and he gave it in several depositions. 

So ended this chapter in the story of the raisin industry litigation. 



PRE-SEEDING PROCESS NOT PATENTABLE 



From Forsyth the Pettit patent passed into the ownership of the U. S. 
Consolidated Seeded Raisin Company. The industry had become a great and 
valuable one. Ownership of patent gave a virtual monopoly. Many were 
•the infringements on the basic idea of the operating mechanism to evade 
payment of royalty on every pound of raisins seeded. Litigation was fruitful 
as between corporate interests in the federal courts with the Consolidated 
as the complainant controlled by Gartenlaub, the leading spirit in the com- 
bination and the owner of a governing interest. In Gartenlaub centered for 
a time the commercial manipulation of the raisin industry. It was in June 
1910 that U. S. Circuit Judge Wellborn rendered decision in the suit against 
the Selma Fruit Company, tried nearly three years before, toppling in a heap 
half of the claims for the exclusive right to seed raisins. His ruling was that 
the process of preparing raisins for seeding under the patent secured by 
Forsyth some 15 years Ijefore is not patentable because it lacked novelty, 
having been used in the treatment of other fruits long before it was applied 
to the raisin. 

The decision was regarded as a victory by the independent packers, 
a dozen or more, who were not under control of the High Five combine and 
resisted paying tribute to it in royalties. With the advance of the seeding 
industry, the Consolidated, popularly known as the Seeded Trust, had gained 
control of the Pettit seeding patent, but various other seeders had been in- 
vented claiming not to be infringements. Rather than meet the issues on a 
test of every alleged infringement, another tack was tried and a first test 
was on the processing patent — the Forsyth process as it was known — said 
process being employed on whatever seeding machine used. If the Con- 
solidated could maintain the validity of the process patent, it could effectually 
control seeding of raisins and maintain its monopoly. This process was an 
alternating heating and chilling of the raisins to separate the meat from the 
seeds so as to efifect the mechanical elimination of the latter without the 
bruising or tearing of the berry skin. For years in the original Forsyth plant, 
this process was guarded from curious eyes, and only trusted employes were 
permitted to gain knowledge of the secret. 

PETTIT SEEDER PATENT UPHELD 

Four months after the process decision or in October 1910, the U. S. 
Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of the Consolidated against the Kings 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 229 

County Raisin and Fruit Company made its ruling on the merits of the con- 
troversy upholding the Pettit patent and decided that being a ]>irineer inven- 
tion the letters patent are entitled to a liberal construction. In this case it 
was contended that there was theoretically in existence a iMccnling seeding 
process known as the Crosby patent, but the court held that even so it did 
not detract from the Pettit patent. The decision was a big victory for the 
trust as emancipation from it would be only in the invention of a non-infring- 
ing fruit seeding machine as covered by Letters Patent No. 619,693 issued 
February 14, 1899, for the Pettit creation. The Crosby patent was No. 56,721 
for an improved raisin seeder and issued July 31, 1866. The differences in the 
two devices are described in the decision which then recited : 

"The Crosb)' invention undoubtedly anticipated and described the whole 
theory of the Pettit patent, but it does not appear ever to have been put 
to use and there is no evidence that a^^y niachine was ever constructed under 
it. It is one thing to invent the theory of a machine. It is quite another thing 
to invent a successfully operating machine. A third of a centiny passed be- 
tween the date of that patent and the date of the Pettit patent, and in that 
time the evidence is conclusive that raisin seeding was done by hand and 
that seeding by machinery was an unknown art. The Pettit machine was the 
first to go into very extensive and successful use. ... It would seem that 
it (the Crosby) was one of those unsirccessful and abandoned machines which 
are held to have no place in the art to which they relate." 

It is needless to enter into other considered particulars, so sweeping was 
the decision on this one point. 

FIRST RAISIN ASSOCIATION LIQUIDATION 

Not often is it that a considerable percentage of a particular industrial 
population of a county is haled into court as in September 1905 when the suit 
was brought by the California Raisin Growers' Association against Andrew 
L. Abbott and 2,800 other defendants for an accounting of the proceeds from 
the sales of the 1903 raisin crop in liquidation of the affairs of the combine. 
The suit was in the courts until September 1911 when the last 600 overpaid 
appellants abandoned further fight and final judgments were entered up to 
close the case. Never has there been a case in the Fresno courts with so 
many individuals involved as defendants. Not all the judgments were realized 
upon on execution, but speaking generally as the result of the long litigation 
and receivership about sixty per cent, was realized on the face value of the 
claims by the 1903 season raisin contract signers. 

The suit was not alone for an accounting for the individual but also for 
a distribution of the assets and a refund of excess payments made to particu- 
lar signers and for payment to those underpaid. Judge G. E. Church of the 
Superior court tried the case and ordered judgment in April 1908 on the 
accounting taken by Walter S. Johnson as referee. Some had received no 
returns or only partial returns on the 1903 crop sales and others had to refund 
excess advance on the three cents selling price before the market broke that 
vear to accelerate the association's lingering death. The gross deliveries by 
signed growers were for that year 95,014,195 pounds: net 92,435,066, the 
sales amounting to $3,926,220.22, though the total money judgments involved 
exceeded that sura. The association directors at the dissolution of the pool 
were : Robert Boot, A. L. Sayre, A. V. Taylor, D. D. Allison and T. C. White. 

The appeal from Church's decision was passed upon in August 1911. The 
main controversy on the appeal was whether or not the association was a 
trust and monopoly in restraint of trade, the contracts made with it void 
therefore, and that having made unlawful payments in advances for deliveries 
it could not maintain suit to recover them as it had originated the contract. 
The association contended that at suit bringing for the dissolution it was 
no longer in active operation and the action was to determine property rights 
in a fund on hand, independent of how acquired, and that in the acquiring 



230 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

of it as mutually agreed upon no wrong was committed against the general 
public or in restraint of trade. The decision was to find nothing in the record 
or in the evidence that the association was engaged in a conspiracy in restraint 
of trade to arbitrarily fix prices or to exclude raisins from packing houses 
not signed up to it. 

The appellants who numbered some 600 who had received excess advances, 
abandoned further proceedings after the decision of August 1911, sustaining 
the lower court and delivered by Justice Melvin, concurred in by Justices 
Henshaw and Lorigan. The point on which the decision turned was the 
special defense that the association was conceived as a monopoly in restraint 
of trade and therefore that its contracts were not enforcible. But in this 
regard the decision was that the most that can be claimed with reference to 
the guilty knowledge of the raisin growers that the association was trying to 
form a monopoly was a published statement, which was admitted, that it was 
determined to secure eighty-five per cent, of the year's production. "But 
granting that those who delivered raisins knew of this design," said the de- 
cision, "that fact alone would not prevent them from recovering the full value 
of their merchandise, or from participating in the distribution." 

In the existing share owned capitalized association, the pitfalls of the 
past have been avoided, and success has followed the broader and better or- 
ganized plan of a cooperative enterprise to create a demand and market for 
the raisin, to undertake the packing of the product in leased, purchased or 
erected establishments, and to act for the grower as a general sales agent to 
the best advantage and profit. 



CHAPTER XLI 

Few of the Rich Have Out of Their Bounty Given to the 
People. Frederick Roeding, M. Theo. Kearney and William 
J. Dickey Have Made the Most Notable Beneficences. The 
Second Named of These Willed to the State a Princely 
Estate for an Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. 
Lewis Leach is Remembered as a Prominent and Note- 
worthy Personage in the History of the County as Well 
as of the City. Frank H. Ball Made Large Bequests to 
Public Institutions. 

The history of the county and of the City of Fresno is a subject so vast in 
scope and covers such a stretch of time that it is hopeless in a work of the 
present character to elaborate on all entitled to notice, either because of 
picturesque or successful careers, or achievements and positions in public 
or private life. 

There were not lacking those that rounded successful careers ; there were 
others that flashed like meteors, made lurid showing and pretense and ended 
in sputter; and too many were there that never arose above the common- 
place, even with all the opportunities that surrounded them in a new country. 
None deserved more at the hands of Fortune than the earliest pioneers ; none 
were more shabbily rewarded in the end. The experience is not singular to 
Fresno. 

Looking back, it has been often commented upon how few of the rich 
have out of their plenty made public bequest or gift for educational, artistic, 
benevolent or religious purpose. The earliest recorded exception is Dr. Lewis 
Leach to erect in unfrequented and almost forgotten spot a costly monument 
to mark the grave of his picturesque business associate. But he did this in 
life. Later in 1910, Fulton G. Berry made in his will Iiequest for a monument 
to recall "The Father of Irrigation." 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 231 

The man in the county who made the greatest public benefaction was 
one of whom it must be said he was in life also the one the least esteemed 
by that public and whose unheralded coming has been recalled as of a young 
man stepping ofi" a belated train at night, dressed in flapping linen duster, 
grip in hand and rich in nothing save self-assurance. It was in 1906 that 
M. Theo. Kearney, leaving no kin or kith, gave his princely estate to the 
State of California through the University of California for an agricultural 
experimental farm. That university has not even acknowledged the munifi- 
cent gift or honored him by giving the metallic box containing his ashes a 
place of sepulture marked by memorial stone or tablet. He was a strange 
character, misunderstood in life, his memory nnhonored after death save 
through his magnificent gift. 

Before this, Frederick Roeding, pioneer landowner who died at the age 
of eighty-six years in San Francisco in July. 1910, had in his life time made 
two gift tenders to the city of land making up the present acreage of Roeding 
Park, one of the most attractive municipal recreation spots in the state. This 
park reclaimed from a sandy waste is today the pride and boast of Fresno 
City and was donated to it with no other condition attached than that the 
city expend in improvement a stated sum annually for a given number of 
years. 

Yet when the original offer was made of the greater acreage, it was 
regarded as a gift horse and its mouth looked into, while a sapient board 
of city trustees declined it for the specious reason that the donor was actuated 
in his offer by a desire to enhance the value of his surrounding holdings one 
mile outside of the city corporate limits. Several years elapsed before the 
first offer was renewed and accepted, and people marvel today at the short- 
sightedness that ever prompted its declination. 

George C. Roeding, famous horticulturist, is at this writing (March, 
1918) one of the commissioners of the city parks. He is a son of the donor. 
To mark his entry as a member of the commission and to expedite a more 
rapid planting of the parks of the city, he made tender to the city that for 
every dollar it spends for the plant beautifying of the parks controlled by it 
he would for the year donate in plants an amount equal to the city purchases. 
The offer was accepted and at the same meeting that the agreement was made 
the commission gave out plant orders on bids for $700. 

William J. Dickey 

Noteworthy bequests were contained in the will of W. J. Dickey who 
died in July 1912 and devised $25,000 for public purposes. His estate was an 
ample one and yet not comparable with many that preceded and followed it. 
The sum of $10,000 was willed to the City of Fresno to be used by it in the 
purchase of apparatus for the children's playgrounds and "of such a character 
and kind as will be most beneficial and enjoyable for the children using such 
grounds." The bequest came at a time when the city playground department 
was a new municipal experiment in Fresno and the city embarrasseji for 
means to equip grounds after having expended the bulk of the voted $73,000 
bond issue in acquiring sites. The pioneer Dickey playground on Blackstone 
avenue stands a monument to the generosity of the man who made his all in 
Fresno. 

Another $10,000 was directed to be by his executors given for such charity 
or benevolence as to them after consultation with his wife might seem best, 
it being understood that it be used "in and about the city." The income from 
this legacy supports a university scholarship for a deserving student. Lastly 
$5,000 was bequeathed to the Fresno County Humane Society, an institution 
that once was a potential power for good but whose field of activities has been 
supplanted by later benevolent organizations. 

Its pioneer work was notable in moulding public sentiment, especially in 
the more humane treatment of dumb animals, and it brought to the fore as its 



232 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

agent, \\illiam Harvey, who on account of his activities became a local char- 
acter of note and because of his English birth, manners and pompous de- 
meanor was popularly known as "Lord Harvey." He is a man who has never 
been given full credit for a great humanitarian work accomplished in times 
and under conditions when a rough public sentiment was not always in accord 
with his reform movement. 

The Dickey bequests were the more appreciated because coming at so 
opportune a time and because absolutely unlocked for. He was an Ohioan born. 
Fifty-nine years of age at time of death, a most approachable man, genial and 
unassuming and one whom prosperity had unchanged from the days of 
Fresno's beginnings, when he came as a dry goods clerk, was so employed 
by Kutner. Goldstein & Co, and later as the desk clerk at the Morrow House, 
the caravansary of the day. He dabbled on the side in wool, and also wrote 
insurance, and was a leader in jeunesse doree circles in the wretched little 
village seat of a cow county. 

Samuel L. Hogue recalls as if it were only an incident of yesterday how 
as a federal census enumerator on Jnne 30, 1880. he and Dickey collaborated, 
figured and figured in the hope of crediting the village with a population of 
1,000 but after recalling every known resident and counting babes born and 
in expectancy, and this was not such a stupendous task, they could not inflate 
the total to exceed 930 and Dickey in his beautiful Pinafore "big, bold hand" 
entered the result on a page of the IMorrow House register as an unofficial 
record. 

Dickev was a public spirited man. allied with the First National Bank 
as a stockholder, also as a shareholder in the People's Savings Bank, inter- 
ested in the first water supplying company, a promoter of the Fresno Street 
Improvement Company and its enterprise of the day in the brick structure at 
Fresno and I Streets, and in later years prominent in the Mountain View 
Cemeterv Improvement Association, organized as a popular movement of 
the citizens in response to an agitation to rescue the city's burial ground from 
the neglected condition that it had fallen into. 

_ At the height of his financial prosperity he made a luck}' strike when at 
the crest of the excitement oil was discovered on a parcel of land at Coalinga 
which he had bought for a trifle at a tax delinquent sale, yielding him an 
eighth of a million after compromising with the original owners for $25,000 
a threatened title litigation on account of doubtful procedure leading up to the 
delinquency sale by the state. 

Dr. Lewis Leach 

This publication would fail of an essential purpose as a historical record 
were it to ignore mention of a few chosen personages, all but one now dead, 
that were foremost in the development of county or city and whose names 
were household words. Nestor of them was indisputably Dr. Lewis Leach. 
When he died March 18, 1897, there passed away one of the first per- 
manent settlers, who later was a foremost citizen and one of the very few 
who linked the Fresno of the days of the Indian and the miner with the 
Fresno of the days when it was exciting public attention as an agricultural 
wonder, and Fresno the hamlet of the desert and waterless plain with Fresno 
the growing city centering in encircling vineyards and orchards. His early 
career was as varied and picturesque as that of his first business associate in 
California, Major Savage, whose exploits never have been given the credit 
they deserve because so barren are the early records. 

Born in 1823, Dr. Leach had at death outlived the Psalmist's allotted term 
of life. He died in the harness. He might have retired with a competency 20 
years before, yet until the middle of the week before his passing away his 
office in the Farmers' Bank Building was open to his patients, ^^'hatever his 
youthful ambitions of a life career, he was the child of circumstances and the 
fact is that when he went west from Binghamton. N. Y., and located in the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 233 

primitive St. Louis in 1840 at the age of seventeen he had two accomplish- 
ments. He was a good fiddler and had a natural gift for drawing. He so ex- 
cited the admiration of the dean of the medical college of the State University 
at Jefferson City, by a humorous cartoon of him being chased around a tree 
stump by an enraged steer that he was invited to take up a course of medical 
lectures. Young Leach accepted, graduated at the 1847-48 term and for two 
years practiced medicine in St. Louis. 

To reach California was his ambition as it was of so many others. The 
opportunity came with a party bound for Salt Lake City with a stock of 
merchandise for barter. There he organized a party to continue the journey 
and eleven men joining him, "Westward Ho !" was the watchword on start in 
October 1850. Fifty miles west from Salt Lake was met a party of thirteen 
families that had lost its way. The two companies joined forces and the 
young doctor was offered the leadership of them. He accepted on condition 
that his word should be the law. The Southern route was chosen. They were 
among the first to follow it and therefore travel was attended by more than 
the usual care and precaution. At the Mojave River the parties divided. The 
families headed for Los Angeles, the Leach section crossed the desert to 
Tejon Pass over the mountains toward the Kern River. 

Here it met a party of refugees from the Indian massacre at Woodville, 
near the present site of Visalia. They had escaped with their lives and were 
in distress. Relief was afforded in a division of food supplies, even then not 
overabundant. Evident that danger was to be apprehended ahead. The arm- 
ament consisted only of a rifle and a shotgun and seven pistols. Every un- 
armed man was provided with dummy wooden gun and such a formidable 
armed showing was the result that although the party was surrounded by 
Indians on the march it was not attacked nor molested. 

A sight was presented at Woodville at the scene of the massacre. Many 
were the reminders of the savage brutality of the Indians. A ghastly one was 
the sixteen unburied corpses, some of them mutilated as was the not infre- 
quent practice to discourage the advance of the whites. Sepulture was given 
the dead. A destroyed bridge was another reminder of the raid. A halt was 
made with night camp on the field of the massacre and next morning cross- 
ing of the stream with wagon bed raft. Hardships followed, constant vigilance 
against surprise by the hovering Indians, and food allowances reduced on 
account of the division with the refugees. Reaching the San Joaquin, they 
had been twenty-five days without flour, for coft'ee they had been boiling 
roasted acorns, of rice they had little left, of salt pork only a limited quantity 
and of fresh meat only the flesh of a wild bullock shot by one of the party. 
The animal had head 'down charged him after wounding. The horns entan- 
gling in the underbrush the beast was tumbled over and in the fall broke neck. 

At Gravelly Ford on the south bank of the San Joaquin they came upon 
the mining camp and store of Cassady & Lane, sold to them their draught 
Uve stock, taking flour at a dollar a pound in large part in trade and treated 
themselves to the luxury of tobacco. A bread feast was the first piece of 
domestic extravagance at the next meal after the long abstinence. It was a 
baking of water and flour dough, cooked in skillet by a St. Louis boy named 
Herman Masters, marked out and cut according to diagram so that each might 
have a section. Eight miles above Gravelly Ford and two above the later Fort 
Miller site, Cassady & Lane were engaged in river mining for gold at Cas- 
sady's Bar and all save Dr. Leach accepted employment as miners. 

Leach was not favorably impressed with the aspect and conditions of 
the new country — and well might it be asked who could have been in those 
earliest days of the white man's presence? He resolved to return east with the 
first passing train party. The tale has long been current and was corroborated 
by Dr. Leach himself' that he had horse saddled and all preparations made 
for that departure when Lane— "Major" as he is always referred to— pre- 
vailed on him to tarrv as there was a young man in camp who needed surgi- 



234 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

cal attention to save his life. He was one of the Woodville refugees that rode 
to Millerton to spread the alarm, was wounded in the arm, had been under 
the care of two Arkansans, who instead of tying up the arteries had resorted 
to compression with the result of blood poisoning in the arrow wounds. 

Out of humane consideration, Dr. Leach delayed departure. It was the 
turning point in his career. He never did leave California. He lived and died 
in Fresno. The arm of the wounded man was amputated and he recovered. 
Having no surgical instruments as the contents of his case had been lost or 
stolen on the plains journey, the operation was performed with common wood 
saw and jack knife, set and sharpened for the occasion, and without anesthetic 
the sufiferer was a conscious looker on of the surgeon's work. 

On the second night of the Leach party's arrival Indians had made a 
descent on the camp at the ford and stolen the very cattle that the emigrants 
had traded off. Other raids followed with near by killings including that of 
Cassady as incidents that led up to the Indian War and the calling out of the 
volunteer three companies of seventy-five each that constituted the Mariposa 
Battalion under Maj. James D. Savage. Leach joined as a private, participating 
in the several preliminary brushes, but in two weeks was appointed battalion 
surgeon. The two assistants were dispensed with and the medical department 
was placed in his charge. Commissary headquarters were located on the 
Fresno River, fifty to sixty miles due north, and here with driven stakes, 
poles cut and laid on crotches, with sides and roof of willow matting and 
roof of green brushes the hospital department was improvised. The war 
operations lasted about four months and peace was restored. 

Major Savage resumed business in partnership with Captain Vinsenhaler. 
A strong bond of friendship grew up between the doctor and the major and 
thus it was that in April 1852 Leach was taken into the partnership of three 
that continued until the sensational murder of Savage. Vinsenhaler and Leach 
continued their association, taking into partnership Samuel A. Bishop, later 
of San Jose. The Indian reservations were established after the peace. The 
store supplied them, the business flourished and expanded and a branch was 
located at Fort Miller. Vinsenhaler was the inactive member of the trio. 
Bishop had charge of the farm on the Fresno, and Leach without mercantile 
training managed the store. The custom in vogue on the frontier was followed 
of marking up goods 100 per cent, on the cost, taking gold dust or equivalent 
in value from those that could pay and seldom bothering those that had credit 
and paid when they could. The business was profitable. Bishop went into 
business with Indian Agent Beall at Fort Tejon and the Vinsenhaler-Leach 
partnership dissolved, Leach taking the store and the other the ranch. Not a 
scratch of pen was made in all these transactions. The words of men in 
those days were as binding as written contracts or bond. The Fort Miller 
store was closed in 1859 but the one on the Fresno was continued until the 
winter of 1860-61. 

IMeanwhile at the latter location he also conducted a hospital with patients 
coming from as far as Visalia. and as many as fifteen to twenty under treat- 
ment at a time. On a visit to Millerton to a patient in December, 1860, he was 
waterbound on account of a winter flood and detained for six weeks. He de- 
cided not to return to the Fresno but to close out and disposed of the stock in 
the store at private sale. At Millerton and as the only established surgeon and 
physician in the county for a time, he was in charge of the county hospital 
and the medical authority for A'ears. He saw the beginning and the end of 
Millerton. He lived the life of the busy country doctor, treated the sick and 
the wounded, eased the last moments of the dying, ministered at the births 
of hundreds who even to this day boast of the fact, as the family physician 
was welcome in every home, and had friends coextensive in number with the 
population of the county among the whites as well as the aborigines. 

His location in Fresno City as the new countv seat was not until October 
4 1874, and he was the last official to leave old Millerton in Russell Flem- 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 235 

mg's stages with the hospital patients and the women left behind until new 
homes could be provided in the hamlet on the plains. 

The hospital in the city was established in rented quarters and four days 
after coming- the cornerstone of the new courthouse was laid with Masonic 
ceremonial. For deposit in the cornerstone receptacle the only Bible that was 
available was Dr. Leach's. In the new county seat, Dr. Leach was as prom- 
inent medically as he had been at Millerton and he became a conspicuous 
figure in its civic and commercial life. 

Was a new public enterprise contemplated. Dr. Leach was consulted and 
became its sponsor. He fathered the first water works with the pumping plant 
so long located on Fresno Street at the corner of the alley between I and T, 
was president of it until 1890 and sold it for $140,000. He was president of the 
first bank in Fresno, a private enterprise in one of the early brick houses 
on the north side of Mariposa midway between H and I and of which Otto 
Froelich was the cashier. He was an organizer of the Bank of Fresno and 
its president until it went out of business on account of the provisions of the 
new constitution of 1879 regarding stockholders' liabilities for indebtedness ; 
an organizer and president of the Farmers' Bank ; fathered the gas company ; 
was identified with the first electric light company and the first street car 
company with the fair grounds as its terminus and was one of the pro- 
moters of the fair association with its races and agricultural exhibitions. 

Professionally as a representative of the old medical school and in civil 
life, Dr. Leach was a prominent figure. It was during his long service as 
county health officer that the first county hospital was erected under his di- 
rection on the block bounded by Mariposa, Tulare, P and O, then considered 
so far out of town that many years would elapse before the growth of the city 
would crowd it out and yet in his life and while still in charge the removal 
was made with the location on Ventura avenue opposite the county fair 
grounds where today stands one of the best equipped and modernized estab- 
lishments of its kind in California. 

Forty-two years a bachelor, the marriage of Dr. Leach in 1872 to INIrs. 
Mathilda Converse, former wife of C. P. Converse, was an event as fortuitous 
as was his decision to remain in Fresno when he had resolved to return east. 
He was a boarder with Mrs. Converse. She had decided to give up catering 
to boarders and not knowing where to find a home table he proposed marriage 
and was accepted. The Leach residence in Fresno City was for years on K 
street (officially designated Van Ness Avenue) on the location now occupied 
by the Sequoia Hotel. There was a rise here in the level of the flat plain of 
four to five feet gradually rising from the courthouse reservation and because 
the early, well to do city residents erected their better homes here the locality 
was popularly known as "Nob Hill." 

By reason of his long local associations, his confidential relations with so 
many of the earliest families as their medical adviser, his active and useful 
public career though never tempted by political aspirations, he was regarded 
at death with greater love, respect and veneration than any other individual in 
the county before. His funeral is said to have been the largest that had been 
accorded any one before. It is recorded that "upwards of 100 vehicles" were 
in the cortege. Fulton G. Berry was in charge and the pall bearers were: 
A. Kutner, Louis Einstein, William Helm, Alexander Goldstein, William 
Somers and Leopold Gundelfinger, of whom today the last three named are 
living. The funeral was a popular demonstration ; twenty-four aged inmates 
of the almshouse hospital when he was in charge attended and so did Ah Kit, 
the Chinese blacksmith and horseshoer of Millerton days, as one of the sincere 
mourners. 

Dr. Leach was accounted in his life time one of the substantial men of 
the city but after his death his estate was found to be much involved. Friends 
saved out of it sufficient for a competency for the widow. 



236 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Frank H. Ball Made Large Bequests. 

Genuine was the surprise furnished by the filing for probate of the will 
of Frank H. Ball, who died March 4, 1919, because of the $45,000 legacies for 
benevolences and semi-public institutions. The surprise was great because 
the benevolences were unlocked for. The Ball will provided for the largest 
money bequests in any testamentary document oflfered for probate in the 
county. The total of these is e.xceeded only by the princely endowment under 
the trust will of M. Theo. Kearney. The two estates are not comparable in 
aggregate value. 

The money bequests under the will are $75,500, namely $13,500 to three 
relatives in the East, $10,000 to a life long friend, Frank M. Romain, $7,000 
to five employes and one of these, the faithful Chinese servant who had been 
in his service for twenty-six years and was rewarded with $2,500, and the 
following public bequests: 

Y. W. C. A - $10,000 

Y. M. C. A - - 10.000 

City Playgrounds 10.000 

Firemen's Baseball Relief Fund 5,000 

Fresno Relief Society 5,000 

Citizens' Relief Committee 5,000 

Total - $45,000 

The Ball estate consists of two valuable pieces of landed property. One 
of these is the city block at J and Kern Streets which whatever its value 
was deeded in his life time independent of testamentary disposition to the 
widow whom he had married in December, 1915. The other is the 113-acre 
vineyard and orchard just outside the city limits at California and East 
Avenues set out as one of the earliest and largest in the county. Because of 
its proximity to the city and in a locality that has been set aside for indus- 
trial enterprises, it is of greater value for commercial purposes than for 
grape culture. Payment of the legacies is contingent upon a sale of the 
vineyard property. The testator himself placed a valuation of $1,200 an 
acre a few years ago when the Santa Fe was in the field looking for ground 
for enlarged switching facilities. 

Frank H. Ball was a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., and came to Cal- 
ifornia thirty-five years ago. He was fifty-four years of age when he died. 
His death was unlooked for as he was ill from heart disease only twenty-four 
hours. After a residence of about two years in San Francisco and having 
come with some means, he moved to Fresno about the time of the Centen- 
nial year and opened one of the first drug stores at Mariposa and J Streets, 
site of the city's first sky scraper. This property he disposed of in part con- 
sideration for acreage land southeast of the city and entered upon the career 
of a vineyardist and orchardist. The Ball city residence on the site of the 
business block was one of the notables in the city for its spaciousness and 
surrounding shading umbrella trees. It was removed in later years to clear 
the site for the Novelty Theater, the first in the city devoted exclusively 
to vaudeville. 

Frank H. Ball was not a man that ever took part in public affairs, where- 
fore, all the more surprise when his will was made public. Prosperity favored 
him and he lived a retired life at the country home as a capitalist. He was 
thrice married. Threatened legal complications prompted him to place his 
belongings in trust with a life long friend, who managed his affairs and it 
was in appreciation of his services that the $10,000 bequest was made. 

It was said of him that he was one of the earliest, if not the first, to 
build a drier and resort to artificial heat in the curing of fruit and raisin 
grapes in the county. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 237 

The popularity and success of the playgrounds department inspired the 
late Louis Einstein to direct that after his death his estate make gift to the 
public of location and an equipped playground. His wishes have been com- 
plied with by the family in the "Einstein Memorial Playground." Mrs. Julia 
A. Fink-Smith was the first woman who made a gift to the public. It was a 
block of city land, lacking two lots afterward Ijought by the city, on which the 
playground named for her has been located. 

Supplementing the five years' antecedent gift to the city of her sister, 
the late Mrs. Julia A. Fink-Smith, J\Irs. Augusta P. Fink-'White, wife of 
Truman C. White, the pioneer, presented to the City Playgrounds Com- 
mission, through her attorney, at a meeting held June 5, 1919, a deed for 
City Black 363, excepting two lots not owned by her, for a site for another 
municipal playground for children. The block is separated from the sister's 
donated block (362) only by the width of a street. The condition of the gift 
was that the blocks be made one continuous playground, with closing of 
alley and street, and that they be improved for the purposes of the gift, be 
fenced in, and that on the east side there be placed above the gateway a 
sign, "Fink-Smith Annex." The special request was made that a municipal 
swimming pool be constructed on Block 363 as soon as the finances of the 
city warranted. 

The Southern Pacific made practical gift of Commercial Park facing its 
passenger depot under a 99 year lease at the nominal dollar a year rental ; 
and the Santa Fe the triangular Hobart Park named for its district agent 
at the time of the gift. And this completes the list of public benefactions, not 
overlooking the Carnegie City Library Building conditionally upon acquired 
site and guaranteed yearly appropriation for its upkeep by the city adminis- 
tration in its tax levy. 

CHAPTER XLII 

Six Words on His Monument Tersely Epitomize the Busy 
Life's Work of Dr. Chester Rowell in This Community. 
His Influence in the Upbuilding of It was as the Family 
Physician, the Founder of a Newspaper, the Organizer 
AND Leader of a Party, the Public Official and the Cit- 
izen. Unique Local Character was Fulton G. Berry. To 
the Last He Loved His Jest. His Funeral was a Remark- 
able Spectacle. He Fills a Place in the Historical Liter- 
ature of the County. 

ERECTED 1914 

To Dr. Chester Rowell 

GOOD PHYSICIAN— GOOD 

FRIEND — GOOD CITIZEN 

1844—1912 

So reads the inscription on the monument in the county courthouse park 
erected at a cost of $10,000 subscribed by admiring and appreciative friends to 
the memory of a man who was held in universal public esteem as no other 
man in the county save possibly Dr. Leach before. Dr. Rowell's coming to 
Fresno dated from 1874. The living today in the modern Fresno City cannot 
realize the influence that the lives and services of these two men had in the 
building up of the community. 

The impress left by the later comer was possibly the greater from the 
sentimental view because he was the founder of a great newspaper, the father 
of the Republican party in the county, wielded political power in the state's 



238 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

councils and personally rejoiced in the coming of the day when as the results 
of years of elifort the county could no longer be safely counted upon as one 
of the uncompromisingly Democratic banner counties of the state. The Re- 
publican newspaper established in 1878 experienced every vicissitude but he 
was always there to come to its rescue with purse. His interest in it was 
that of a parental aiTection for it; he rejoiced in its virtues and accomplish- 
ments ; he sorrowed over its failures and shortcomings. 

Politically he was an uncompromising partisan of the old school. He 
believed implicitly in partisanship politics and pinned his undeviating faith on 
the Republican party above any other. Not that he did not respect the honesty 
and faith of those opposed to him politically, but in his own mind he enter- 
tained not the shadow of a doubt that they were misguided. As with Dr. 
Leach, he was known and beloved as the self-sacrificing country physician 
in a rough, pioneer country, ignoring no call for his services whatever the 
hour in a community of great and wide distances and of few practitioners. 
The question of money reward was until the last, for he also died in the 
harness, the least consideration. It was more often refused in charity than 
demanded as his due. 

New Hampshire born in 1844, the years before maturity were spent in 
Illinois whither the family emigrated to Stout's Grove, near Bloomington, in 
1849. The father died a year later, the eight pioneering farming sons were 
known as "Widow Rowell's Boys" and as models for others to pattern after. 
Five of them answered their country's call at the outbreak of the war. The 
voungest of them, a boy of fifteen, was taken ill and was compelled to return 
home" The others remained in the service as soldiers for forty months in the 
Department of the Tennessee, and though wounded none was ever ofif duty 
during his term of service. Chester Rowell was of an age that forbade enlist- 
ment, but he served in the compan}- of an elder brother, though never carried 
on the muster roll. 

After the war, he attended for a time Lombard College at Galesburg, 
then moved to Chicago for a business college course, also studying medicine. 
The latter was continued more systematically in San Francisco after arrival 
in 1866 and crossing the plains. He was associated with an elder cousin. Dr. 
Isaac Rowell, and graduated in 1870 from the medical department of the 
University of the Pacific, later Cooper's Medical College and now affiliated 
with Stanford University. Dr. Levi Lane, a celebrated surgeon, as was Dr. 
H. H. Toland, the medical college named for whom became the medical 
department of the state university, was the dean and for years after graduation 
it was Dr. Rowell's practice annually to attend in San Francisco the Lane 
course of lectures. A year was spent in teaching school in Oregon, but re- 
turning to San Francisco he took up the practice of medicine until removal 
to Fresno to undergo all the hardships and trials of the pioneer practitioner 
in an unsettled and new country, took up early an active part in the politics 
of the day and two years after coming launched the weekly little newspaper 
publication that is today one of the leading newspapers of the state. 

Proof of his early high standing in the community is evidenced by the 
fact of election to the state senate as a Republican in 1879 at a time when the 
county was vet strong for Democracy and nomination by that party was in 
those days equivalent to an election, sitting in the last legislature under the 
constitution of 1849. He was the first Republican ever elected to office in 
the county. As senator he served until 1883, and was reelected in 1898 and in 
1902. His independent course and stand against the railroad's domination in 
the political affairs of the state gained him its enmity and its influence de- 
feated him for the railroad commissionership in 1882 and again in 1886. In 
1890 he aspired for the nomination for congress from the sixth district, 
recalled by a memorable contest with W. W. Bowers of San Diego, and 
Lindsay of Los Angeles as his opponents in the convention. Sixty ballots 
were cast without choice whereupon after an adjournment to Ventura, the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 239 

opposing forces combined and the hard fought nomination went to Bowers. 
Dr. Rowell was also a central figure in the 1900 legislative session in the dead- 
lock over the U. S. Senatorial nomination of Dan Burns as the avowed rail- 
road candidate but without votes enough to elect. Dr. Rowell as the dis- 
coverer of the man, as he was jocosely referred to later, voted continuously 
for Thomas R. Bard and the latter finally gained strength enough that al- 
though the session closed without choice he was nominated at the called extra 
session the year after, but failed of reelection in 1905. 

Dr. Rowell was appointed a regent of the state university in 1891 and 
continued in that honorary position until his death. He was a member of the 
state board of health in 1884, and in 1900 a delegate to the Republican national 
convention of which he was one of the committee that framed the party plat- 
form for the McKinley second campaign. His last national political partici- 
pation was in 1912 as delegate to the Taft nominating convention at Chicago. 
In 1909 against the urgent advice of most intimate friends and advisers yet in 
response also to a strong public demand in a local political agitation over 
the saloon closing question he was prevailed upon to stand for the office of 
mayor of Fresno City, was elected b}^ a flattering vote and served three years 
of his term. Dr. Rowell married in 1874 the widow of his medical associate 
of younger days. She died in 1884. He was a pillar of the Unitarian Church 
of Fresno and himself as a labor of love financed the erection of its unique 
place of worship; and was associated as president and a director with the 
People's Savings Bank. 

As mayor he served harassed by perplexing difficulties, anxiety over 
which acknowledgedly shortened his busy and active life. He felt keenly the 
public and private criticisms for his exercise of independent and best judg- 
ment of mind in not surrendering to fanatical clamor on the saloon problem 
yet as a progressive step affixing his signature to a reform ordinance that lim- 
ited the number of drinking establishments, closed them on Sundays and on 
holidays and after midnight daily and brought them under a closer police 
regulation. He took to heart the denied responsive cooperation of the public 
in a subscription for the erection of a municipal convention hall building on 
one of the acquired playground sites. The result was financial and legal com- 
plications over his effort to build it with public funds on personal authority 
and individual financial obligation. 

I'nconipromising political partisan that he was and committed to the 
second-term cause of President Taft, a heart-breaking and bitter disappoint- 
ment was the advocacv of Theodore Roosevelt, the defeat of Air. Taft with the 
division of the Republican part\- lirl|>c(l out by the newspaper that he was 
the founder of. of which he Ii.mI tlic Imancial control yet not of its editorial 
policy transferred to his nephew. ( hr^tcr II. Rowell. and which newspaper has 
been truly described as "the child of his adoption and nurture." 

Dr. Rowell was a man much beloved and lovable, modest, unassuming 
and approachable ; a man not to be thwarted in will nor contradicted or op- 
posed in purpose; in politics unbending and one who knew no middle course 
as between likes and dislikes. The devoted and admiring friends that erected 
the monument to his memory caused it to be placed for sentimental reasons 
in an angle of the public park at Tulare and K (Van Ness) Streets where the 
life-sized seated figure faces the scene of many years of activities in the great 
newspaper that was the idol of his heart, the corner publication house of that 
organ and in which he also had his offices ; while on the opposite corner looms 
up Fresno's second, towering, modern sky scraper — the Rowell-Chandler 
office building on the site of the modest, little, moss-grown and orange tree 
surrounded, rustic covered cottage that had been his humble home for years 
continuous so many that it had become a landmark of the city. 

"Good Physician, Good Friend, Good Citizen" is his well-earned epitaph. 
His memory is enshrined in many a grateful heart. 



240 HISTORY OF FRESXO COUNTY 

Fulton G. Berry 

Unique spectacle was presented in Fresno City Tuesday April 12, 1910, 
at the funeral of Fulton G. Berry. Known the state over, he was because of 
his genial personality one of the most potent publicity agencies that the county 
and city ever had. Truly was it said of him that to the last he loved his jest. 

No solemn dirge or funeral hymn or chant timed his obsequies but his 
favorite popular airs marked the last rites over his remains. In the services 
at Elks' hall as the public was taking a last look at his familiar features, 
Theodore Reitz's orchestra played "La Paloma." A brass band of twenty 
pieces headed a parade of the business district by the cortege and entering 
the cemetery struck up for a march Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes For- 
ever." Following out the dead man's instructions, cortege moved through 
the streets at brisk walk and to the cemetery the vehicles traveled at smart 
speed. Passing the Grand Central Hotel, with which the name of the decedent 
was so long identified, the band played "Auld Lang Syne." 

The funeral service was conducted in the Elks' lodge room, the same 
in which December 31. 1907, many feasted as guests on the golden anniver- 
sary of his wedding. Lodge room was not funereally draped but elaborately 
decorated along the same general lines as at the wedding celebration. The 
walls were covered with palm and green branches surmounted by a frieze of 
magnolias. There was no suggestion of the solemn, or of the dead. The 
first music played was Alendelssohn's "Spring Song" and to its soft strains 
the family party entered. The music was according to the dead man's wishes. 
"Just Some One" was one favorite and "Home Sweet Home" was another. 
The Elks conducted their ritualistic work and the principal address was 
delivered by an old friend, 'M. F. Tarpey, who said truly of the departed: 

"No place could be cheerless where his voice resounded ; no heart sor- 
rowful in the presence of his contagious good nature. He was a specific 
entity; in everything exceptional; in nothing commonplace. Self reliant and 
courageous in character, he met fate's rebuffs with undaunted composure ; 
the threats of either adverse fortune or physical decline were powerless to 
stay the flow of his sunny epigrams, or cloud his intellect to the mirth of a 
witty sally. He loved his jest to the last; the weary, the despondent, the 
heartsore took new courage from the example of his untiring energy, one 
of his strong characteristics; his wise and quaint counsels silenced com- 
plaint with a quip, dispelled despondency with an epigram ; hope and good 
will gushed spontaneously from him in a stream, carrying away care, sor- 
row, despondency and these could find no permanent lodgment in his aura." 

At the grave and still carrying out the expressed wish to have nothing 
suggestive of cold formality or elaborate ritual at the funeral. Frank H. 
Short made a few simple remarks such as he believed the dead man and 
friend of many years would wish him to utter. Two thoughts are worth 
the preserving: 

"It was more than a quarter of a century ago that Mr. Berry came here 
and he was then fifty-two years old. Most men at that period would have 
sought a place to rest in, l3ut Mr. Berry never wanted to rest. He was a 
young man as long as he lived. He never succumbed to any misfortune or 
to any foe, until he surrendered to that to which we all must sooner or 
later surrender. . . . 

"You know Mr. Berry always had a horror of being considered a Chris- 
tian. He did not want to be considered a 'good' man. Yet his life through- 
out was one of helpfulness. When we remember how he used to assist, and 
call on to assist in the work of the Salvation Army and other worthy char- 
ities, we may feel safe in saying that if every person to whom he had done a 
kindness in this world should cast a flower on his grave, there would be 
even more flowers than are here today, although there never were so many 
flowers at a funeral here before." 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 241 

The grave was banked up with flowers and an impressive token was a 
wreath presented by ^Ir. Berry to his daughter, Airs. Maude LilHan Fisher- 
Moulan, known on the comic opera stage as Maude Lilhan Berri, the night 
before his death when she received an ovation at the Barton theater on her 
appearance after a long professional absence. The wreath bore the welcome 
"To Our Lillian." The pall-bearers were: Frank H. Short, M..F. Tarpey, 
D. S. Ewing, Clarence J. Berry, the Klondiker, Jack McClurg (since de- 
ceased), Emanuel Katz, ^^'. H. Harris and George M. Osborne (the actor 
since deceased) in place of Alexander Goldstein who could not attend be- 
cause of illness. 

This remarkable funeral was in accord with the expressed directions 
of the will of August 25, 1909, which after the request that the Elks' ritual 
service be used at the funeral stated : 

"That instead of the ordinary funeral sermon customarily used on these 
occasions, I feel that it would be pleasant to me to have one of my friends, 
Frank H. Short, or M. F. Tarpey, or in their absence or inability to act 
on such occasion, then D. S. Ewing, deliver on that occasion just such 
an address, oration or eulogy as they may think proper and fitting under the 
circumstances, feeling that they have been in closer touch with the emotions 
of my life than others could have been ; I also feel that I would be pleased 
to know that on this occasion that I was surrounded by a profusion of 
flowers, and that appropriate vocal music was a predominant part of said 
ceremony." 

Another bequest of the will was in the following provision : 

"8 — Recognizing the faithfulness with which my old Chinaman. George, 
has served me for the past sixteen fl6) years at the ranch, I hereby direct 
and instruct my executors to purchase for him in the event he should ever 
desire to return to China, all necessary transportation, of such class that 
George may return to his native land in equally as good if not better style 
than he reached the shores of America." 

There was expression of the pleasure to know that his casket should 
be borne to its last resting place by the hands of dear friends, naming those 
that in fact with one exception did act as the pall bearers. This testament 
was a unique document in Fresno County records. The estate was valued 
in excess of $100,000 but incumbered. 

To jest was Fulton G. Berry's ruling passion. Countless are the jests 
and pranks ascribed to him. One historical and extravagant one to recall 
was on the occasion of the fiftieth jubilee celebration in San Francisco by 
the Native Sons of the Golden West of the admission of California into the 
Union. The resuscitated parlor of Fresno made its initial parade in the 
celebration and Berry headed the Fresno section as marshal mounted on a 
fine horse and picturesquely attired in costume of Spanish-Californian don in 
white with red silk waist sash and wearing umbrageous sombrero imported 
from Mexico as were the sombreros worn by the parlor members. Parade 
over, Berry created the sensation of the day in San Francisco in riding 
that mettlesome animal into the famous marble-tiled bar room of the Lick 
House on Montgomery Street. Only an ebullient spirit such as Berry's 
could have conceived such a piece of theatricalism. It was with just such 
pranks that he kept before the state Fresno's name and fame. 

On another recalled hilarious gala occasion during the memorable boom 
era, when every corner and nook in the Grand Central as was the custom 
was monopolized by gaming tables and the play was high. Salvation Army 
lassies entered to make their collection. Berry seized the tambourine, flung 
into it a five-dollar piece and requiring every man in the bar to do likewise, 
cajoled every table keeper and card player to contribute from five dollars 
to one according to the size of the pile of chips or money before him, turned 
in a record collection to the lassies with an invitation to step up to the bar 
to drink at his expense and no oft'ense if the invitation were declined. The 



242 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Salvation Army never had a better friend nor more ardent champion than 
in Fulton G. Berry. 

The vital energy of the man was extraordinary. He was like a pent up 
volcano. An eruption in an extravagant exploit as the one related was 
necessary to maintain his spiritual equipoise. He was an enthusiastic yachts- 
man, born in Maine amidst marine surroundings. On a visit back home 
in the spring of 1908, he must indulge himself in his passion for the sea by 
assuming command of the oldest two-masted schooner in the United States, 
if not in the world, and in actual service at the time — the Polly, whose his- 
tory antedated the War of 1812 when she traded between Boston and Penob- 
scot Bay, was a privateer in that war, also during the Civil War. He sailed 
her from Belfast to Castine, Maine, and was proud of the honor. 

Not many bore a more active part than he after coming to Fresno in 
1884, just before the memorable "boom times," in aiding and encouraging 
the work of developing the city at a time when it had a population of scarce 
2,500, yet soon to seethe with the excitement of the times. Enterprise and 
energy were characteristic of him. He became associated with the leading 
improvements and industries. He was one of the most enthusiastic in per- 
ceiving the future possibilities with irrigation. He started the first steam 
laundry, aided in building the first street railway with imported discarded 
"bob tailed street cars" from San Francisco, was the principal owner of 
the gas works until the plant was sold, one of the original owners of the 
electric light plant, was one of the leading spirits to bring to Fresno the 
first steam fire engine afterward taken over by the volunteer city depart- 
ment ; and with Ryland Wallace set out the first orange grove in the San 
Joaquin Valley, seventy acres of trees at Orangedale on the Kings River, 
promoted the first chamber of commerce, the first county citrus fair which 
proved a revelation, the county fairs of a week with their horse racing, open 
gambling and all the revels in their wake with money spent like water ; it 
was a time when they were grading the streets and making a beginning on 
paving them : when Fresno was emerging into a wild and speculation reck- 
less town out of the village chrysalis into the glare of the lime light and 
was the talk of the state. 

Fulton G. Berry's death April 9, 1910, was from paralysis of the heart. 
He was always a liberal supporter of all sports. One of his last acts was to 
write a letter to James J. Jeffries, of whom he was a great admirer, accom- 
panying the box of raisins sent the pugilist by the Raisin Day Festival Com- 
mittee as an attraction on the day. By the members of the United Commer- 
cial Travelers, who made his Grand Central and Fulton Hotels headquarters, 
he was hailed as a genial soul and as "the traveling man's friend." The title 
of Commodore attached to him because of his yachting activities in the San 
Francisco days and as one time commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club 
and ownership of the fast little yacht "Nixie" which outsailed everything 
on the bay. 

He was identified with business and financial interests in San Francisco 
before coming to pastures new in Fresno. He was a state character, his 
name known from one end of it to the other. He missed being a Californian 
of the '49 period, still came during the height of the mining period and gold 
excitement. He arose from comparative poverty to affluence and influence. 
Vicissitudes also fell to his lot and when he came to Fresno he was a ruined 
man financially, Fresno County never had a more consistent booster than 
in him. Here he retrieved his fortune and he ever was grateful. Visiting 
his home after an absence of fifty-three years and noting how people econo- 
mized to exist, he returned declaring that should any reverses overtake him 
he would never leave the county to start life elsewhere. 

Born in Belfast, Me., February 10, 1832, of Scotch ancestry of Massachu- 
setts colonial times, he was the youngest of a family of twelve. At seventeen 
after the discovery of gold in California, like so many thousands of others 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 243 

he concluded to try fortune in the mining fields. From New York he sailed 
by way of the Isthmus of Panama and after a tedious voyage arrived at 
San Francisco ]\Iay 20, 1851. He mined in the old diggings at Forbestown 
and on return to the bay sent to his mother some of his first accumulations. 
Subsequently he mined on the American River, and on the Yuba, also at 
Cherokee. Locating in San Francisco in 1853, he shoveled sand and placing 
his earnings in a horse and dray teamed for seven years, cooking his meals 
and sleeping in the stable loft. 

Another six years was spent in the grocery business at Jackson and 
Stockton Streets. During the stirring times of those early years he was an 
active member of the historical Vigilance Committee of 1856. He grew up 
with San Francisco, lived its strenuous life through until the end of the 
mining stock speculation craze. In the later years he was in the real estate 
business, associated with Alexander Badlam who was so long assessor of 
San Francisco, and at the height of his financial career was a member of 
the San Francisco Stock Exchange and paid for a seat the record breaking 
price of $30,000. He was a charter member of the Pacific Board— the little 
board as it was called — but sold the seat for the other. Later in San Rafael 
he leased the Tamalpais Hotel for two years and for three years thereafter 
served as commissary at San Ouentin prison, then coming to Fresno. 

Friends who had known him in his days of affluence financed him and 
he bought a half interest in the Grand Central Hotel here, was successful, 
bought'out his partners in 1888 and made house the best known and most 
popular caravansary in the valley. He came in advance of the boom times, 
$16,000 in debt, and accumulated in time some of the best paying property 
in the county and notably the 140-acre Grand Central Farm located about 
three-quarters of a mile on the celebrated Kearney Boulevard, devoted to 
general farming and dairying, besides valuable city holdings and blocks 
of what was afterwards platted as Arlington Heights. 

He was one of the executive committee of the Midwinter fair held in 
San Francisco with great success; was a Republican in politics and always 
prominent at conventions ; served one term locally as city councilman ; was 
in many fraternal orders and held membership in San Francisco and Fresno 
clubs. 

He early discerned the great possibilities of Fresno and lent his aid 
and encouragement in the promotion of public utility enterprises. He was 
public spirited as a citizen and assisted materially to advance the industrial, 
commercial and social interests of the city. He was one of the most loyal 
champions that Fresno ever had and earned for himself a permanent place 
in the historical literature of the county. 



244 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XLIII 

First of the Optimistic Land Promoters and Commercializers 
WAS Thomas E. Hughes. His Meteoric Activities Fastened 
ON Him the Appellation of "Father of Fresno." Louis 
Einstein was a Pierstone in the Substantial Foundation 
of the Conservative Commercial and Financial Life of the 
City. Recognized Also as a Factor in the Social and Civic 
Uplift of the Growing Community. Pioneer Merchant and 
First Banker was Otto Froelich. 

First great promoter with no more substantial backing than optimism 
was Thomas E. Hughes. He gave evidence in his prime of such speculative 
energv and activity that his name has been appreciatively handed down in 
local annals as "The Father of Fresno." 

He was born in North Carolina Tune 6. 1830. and was possessed of a 
character that made it possible for him to become an agencv in shaping 
and advancing the destiny of the undeveloped community that he found 
on arrival here in June, 1878. With him speculation was a ruling passion. 

Nature had fitted him to be a boomer and promoter and in Fresno he 
found a virgin field for the exercise of his extraordinary capabilities in this 
line. His stock in trade was optimism. Financial means to launch his first 
enterprises he had little or none. In the zenith of his career he was accounted 
one of the rich men of the county. Fortune favored him several times but 
with the fickleness of that goddess his experience has been that of others 
before him to be deserted in the end. Financial reverses, and in his career 
the experience became a familiar one, left him undaunted. 

After several years of ill health and failing mentality due to advanced 
age, the pioneer builder of Fresno City died at the home of his daughter, 
Airs. W. D. Foote, near Los Angeles, April 19, 1919, and his remains were 
sent to Fresno to be buried. His first love for Fresno was so deeply im- 
planted in his heart that although his home had been for upwards of a dec- 
ade in the southern city a promise had been exacted from his eldest liv- 
ing son that wherever he might die he should be laid away amidst the scenes 
of his greatest activities and lasting accomplishments. That wish was re- 
spected and the funeral was under the auspices of the Masons, with which 
fraternity he had affiliated before his coming to California. At the time of 
death he lacked one month of the age of eighty-nine years. 

Much could be written of his remarkable active life, the city develop- 
ment and farm colonization work that he pioneered in Fresno. His op- 
timism was boundless. His experience was that of many others in reverses 
of fortune as the result of the panic times of 1893, and while he had to 
abandon many of his interests here and was left financially embarrassed 
he did not lose heart but retained the courage to make still another be- 
ginning, far advanced in life though he was. After leaving Fresno, which 
for a period of more than ten years he visited only at intervals and on an- 
niversary occasions or family reunions, he undertook lastly an agricultural 
land development enterprise under a Mexican grant. 

Conditions did not please him, especially not the high-handed methods 
of the landed proprietorship in the promotion of labor peonage. He had 
also turned his attention to mining development and was believed to have 
been on the road to success when the Madero revolution of 1909 broke out, 
and he returned home to await the time when there would be more settled 
business conditions. He had always hoped to return and take advantage 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 245 

of the possibilities that he said awaited him there. The hope was vain. He 
had not reckoned on his advanced age and his health. In his last years he em- 
braced the Christian Science faith. 

At the funeral the pallbearers were Masons and old-time friends. The 
general public was not in attendance as mourners at the funeral of one who 
had done so much for the city that he was known as "The Father of Fresno," 
whose name and deeds were in the mouth of every one. Such a chano-e in 
the population had come about during the years of his absence from the 
city that he builded that it was only another generation that could recall 
him from a personal knowledge and association, so rapid and great had been 
the changes. The flags were raised at half mast from the city pulilic build- 
ings on the day of the funeral. 

Surviving him are the daughter, ]\Irs. ^^^ D. Foote, of Los Angeles, 
and three grandchildren ; the sons James E. Hughes of Fresno and \^'illiam 
M. Hughes of Madera and Arizona, and their grandsons Edwin E. Hughes 
the Fresno postmaster, and Kenneth L. Hughes of Tranquillity, and the 
great grandchildren. The son, James E. Hughes, desired at the funeral of 
his father to chose for pallbearers the intimate friends who were chosen 
companions of him on a memorable excursion in July, 1892. He was unable 
to find a sufficient number, so great had been the changes between the day of 
Thomas E. Hughes' departure from Fresno and that of his death. In 
grateful acknowledgment of many uniform courtesies shown him by Mr. 
Hughes and other prominent citizens on his visits to Fresno, A. N. Towne, 
general manager of the Southern Pacific, tendered the use of the private 
car "Carmello" for a visit to the Sacramento River Canyon to the then 
newly opened Castle Crag Tavern, to Sissons at the base of Mount Shasta 
and over the Siskiyou Mountains, the visit in fact not ending until Portland 
Ore., was reached. 

The car was at disposal on Thursday, July 14, and, according to the 
directions "there will be no charge for the use of the car, the servants or 
the passage money ; the only expense you would be to would be for pro- 
visioning the car to suit your own taste." The party returned by way of 
San Francisco and visited' Stanford University before coming home. Mr. 
Hughes invited the following named to accompany him and wife: 'Mr. and 
Mrs. Fulton G. Berry, Miss Maude Berry, Mr. and Mrs. M. K. Harris, Mr. 
and Mrs. H. D. Colson, Mr. and Mrs. F. K. Prescott, Mr. and Mrs. L. L. 
Cory, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. McKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. O. J. Woodward, Mr. 
and Mrs. T. C. White, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Einstein, Dr. and Mrs. Lewis 
Leach, Miss Imogene Rowell and Mr. and Mrs. J. R. White. Of the gentle- 
men of the party the living on the day of the funeral of their one-time 
host were Messrs. M. K. Harris, T. K. Prescott, O. J. Woodward, T. C. 
White and L. L. Cory. 

Thomas E. Hughes was a man of dynamic force of character. He was 
a bold and successful operator in enterprises in which his neighbors would 
not dare. He made many successes; he had failures and yet it seemed to 
onlookers that he had in his grasp the wand of magic and that whatever he 
touched turned to gold. It was said of him that within five years after 
settling in Fresno he was paying out as interest $18,750 a year on $150,000 
that he had borrowed from bank's and individuals to float his projects. With 
his earlv career in Batesville, Ark., this history is not concerned. It has to 
deal with him in California as connected with Fresno and the development 
with which he had so much to do. Thomas E. Hughes married Miss Mary 
J. Rogers, daughter of a clergyman, December 18, 1850, at Batesville and in 
the spring of 1853 he sold his business and on the overland journey to Cali- 
fornia was accompanied by a brother-in-law, William R. Feemster, sister 
and youngest brother, traveling up the Kansas River. He became a Mason 
before departure. The cattle drivers working their way across, deserted 
in the sink of the Humboldt, believing they could travel faster and become 



246 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

rich before the arrival of the main party in California. The women rode in a 
wagon to which a yoke of four cattle was attached, drove the yoke or fol- 
lowed the Feemster leading wagon. Hughes and brother, John, drove cattle 
for four days, and then hiring help on the journey met between the Hum- 
boldt and the Carson River the oldest brother, William C, who had come 
from California to intercept them with fresh teams and provisions. 

He had bought an additional band of cattle and the party crossed the 
Sierra at the old Carson River road and arrived eight miles north of Stock- 
ton, October 5, 1853, with two wagons and 200 cattle. William lived at 
Murphy's Camp. Here the brother-in-law also settled and here, March 28, 
1854, Thomas E.'s first son was born. It was to be Hughes' first experience 
in farming. He traded for a squatter's claim to 160 acres, in the winter of 
1853 bought seed wheat at three and barley at two and a half cents and 
with a twenty-four inch plow and four yoke of cattle plowed and seeded 
100 acres of grain. Wheat crop turned to smut and the barley harvesting 
cost him more than he could sell it for after sacking. Discouraged, he de- 
cided to rent land claimed by three neighbors and take stock to ranch. He 
solicited the horses and cattle of others and in less than thirty days the 
story is that he had stock enough to give him an income of $800 a month 
and he was soon on his feet. 

The second son, James E., was born December 26. 1855. The relatives of 
Mrs. Hughes had for a year importuned her to return to Arkansas. Stock- 
ton was left in March, 1856, for San Francisco, for a steamship return to 
New Orleans and by land on to Batesville. There, after brief stay, the 
wife was taken ill and the decision was made to return to California in the 
spring of 1857. The Californians were prevailed upon to delay departure 
that her father might close his aiTairs to accompany them westward, and the 
third son, William M., was born February 15, 1858. The actual departure 
was on April 1, 1859, with five emigrant wagons, a carriage and 400 head 
of cattle, owning at start only a small part of the outfit. ]\Irs. Hughes 
suffered from lung trouble, had to be conveyed in the carriage and was im- 
proving during the first month of the journey, but an unfortunate accident 
took place. The carriage was about to cross a small stream, a dog jumped 
in front of the horses causing them to turn to one side, the vehicle was 
upset. Mrs. Hughes was thrown into the water, took a bad cold, began 
to sink fast and on the morning of the arrival at Fort Laramie breathed 
her last. The remains were preserved in charcoal and conveyed to Stock- 
ton for burial after arrival late in September. 

The stock was kept during the winter of 1859 some twenty miles north- 
east of Stockton. In the spring of 1860 Mr. Hughes bought 240 acres in 
what was known as Bachelors' Valley, commanding the waters of a small 
creek. The father-in-law having left unsettled business in Arkansas and 
Tennessee prevailed on the son-in-law to return East and Thomas E. left 
San Francisco, December, 1860, for New York on the steamer "Sonora." 
He returned to Stockton bringing the trotting stallion known as "Washtinaw 
Chief" and as "Niagara" after sale by him for $5,000. There was loss of 
cattle during the dry season of 1862, and in the notable wet season of 1864 
he sold what he had left for five dollars to ten dollars a head and turned 
his attention again to farming. He had only 240 acres, which was deemed 
insufficient. A friend had just sold a copper mine. He had cash and from 
him Hughes borrowed $4,000 to enter upon more land. He paid two per cent, 
interest per month, payable monthly or to be added to principal, mortgaging 
the 240 acres and also the 3,000 acquired by entering soldier warrants 
bought for fifty cents on the dollar. Here were then 3,240 acres but no 
money to farm them. Crop was mortgaged at the same usurious rate and 
the next summer the crop paid the debt with something left over. 

Hughes had his three boys with him and they lived in a bachelors' hall. 
The second marriage followed in December, 1866, with Miss Annie E. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 247 

Yoakum of Alameda County. The daughter was born August 19, 1872, of 
this union. Hughes found his way into Stanislaus County and in 1867 was 
elected, and served for one term as county clerk and ex-officio recorder. 
Term of office having been expired, he bought sheep and land and accounted 
himself worth $100,000. He rented land in Merced for the sheep and for 
farming, put out some 7,000 acres to grain, principally in Merced. One dry 
year succeeded another and in 1873 he was so heavily in debt that he 
looked for an opening elsewhere and went to Lower California to examine 
a grant of 300,000 acres as to its possibilities for colonization. Creditors 
concluded that he had left the country for good and on return in five weeks 
he found everything in the hands of the sheriff and no compromise for 
further time obtainable. The assignees in bankruptcy so ill managed affairs 
that assets were, sold for $46,000 and as claimed they paid the creditors noth- 
ing on the assertion that all was consumed in litigation expenses. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hughes and daughter moved to San Francisco in the 
spring of 1874, arriving there with a capital of $130, the savings of himself 
and boys from wages as herders 'of their sheep for the creditors. At so 
low an ebb were the fortunes of Mr. Hughes at this time that he was given 
free desk room with T. L. Babin at Pine and Kearney Streets, he to ad- 
vertise all real estate Hughes might secure for sale and divide the com- 
missions. This gave a scant living, but the three boys were brought together 
in time and in June, 1878, 7,000 sheep were taken on shares from Dr. E. B. 
Perrin, the latter to furnish the range in Fresno and the Hughes' to have 
one-half the wool and increase. The boys attended, to the sheep ; the father 
turned his attention to real estate. 

The Southern Pacific made him agent for the renting of its grant lands 
for farming and grazing, and he had also the agency for the renting of at 
least 100,000 acres of non-residents at a compensation of ten per cent, of 
rentals received. The Central California Colony was a verity at this time 
and he was seized with the farm land colonization plan. Edmund Jansen 
owned 6,080 acres adjoining Fresno townsite between Central Colony and 
town, but it was rough and waterless land and no one would buy. A colony 
proposition was suggested, Jansen to procure water rights and supply ditches. 
An agreement was made. Jansen died and the widow agreed to sell the 
land for ,$40,000, Hughes to pay $5,000 in six and twelve months and as much 
annually at eight per cent, from date of purchase. 

Hughes had no money. He must have water rights and ditches which 
would cost about seven dollars an acre, and so he agreed to give M. J. 
Church five land sections for the water and ditches for the other four and 
a half sections. Arrangements were made for the advertisement of the 
project on credit, the railroad was induced to run an excursion to Fresno, 
and Hughes and Judge North, who was the selling agent of Washington 
Colony, which had then been thrown on the market, went to Sonoma, Napa 
and Solano Counties, presented tickets to prominent men, and North lec- 
tured on the advantages of Fresno soil with water applied. The excursion 
brought about 300 men to Fresno. There was little to show them on that 
dry and barren plain other than the beginnings in Central and Washington 
colonies and that what was there could be reproduced on adjoining land. 

Hughes sold $30,000 worth of land to excursionists in twenty and forty- 
acre tracts, receiving some cash payments at fifty dollars an acre, and after 
a few davs disposed of 640 acres to G. G. Briggs at forty dollars, which notes 
being discounted $1,000 paid the colonizer cash. Paying out on the land, 
there was still left money to make a fourth payment on other lands and as 
fast as he sold and realized he bought more. It was the talk that he would 
buy anything that he could have on credit. He advertised that he would 
sell to any one that would improve, giving him credit for one to three years, 
and the result was that in thirty days he sold from $85,000 to $90,000 worth 
of land on the promise of improvement and enhancement of value. He was 



248 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

prospering. Thus in 1881 he was one of the organizers of the Fresno 
County Bank that afterward became the First National. In the fall he in- 
corporated the Fresno Fruit Packing Company, taking one-third of the paid 
up capital stock of $25,000. This was done to find a market for the grown 
fruit and to encourage the planting of fruit trees. It was a financial failure, 
though it did induce the buying of land and the growing of fruit. He 
and others organized the gas-making plant which was sold after two years. 

A profitable joint venture with J. R. White, pioneer miner from Mariposa 
for whom Whitesbridge was named, was the purchase of 230 acres from the 
railroad at $25 an acre covering in part the town site. A portion of this con- 
stituted at the southern end of town beyond Ventura Avenue very first terri- 
torial expansion of the town. A small portion was sold in town lots for 
sufficient in comparative brief time to pay for the entire tract. For the re- 
mainder in lots $1,000 an acre was realized and the speculation netted over 
$100,000. 

In 1884 the idea of a Masonic Temple was conceived. The corporation 
was organized with $25,000 capital, Hugiies took half the stock and carried 
it for two years. Building fell into the hands of the Fresno Savings and 
Loan Bank on foreclosure. It was at the corner of I and Tulare, opposite 
the Hughes Hotel and original Hughes residence site. Dr. Lewis Leach 
and Hughes took up the idea of race track and fair grounds in 1883, Hughes 
furnishing almost half the capital. Dr. Leach was the president and man- 
ager of the association for about twenty years and until his death. The 
track was one of the best in the state, and eventually became the property 
of the county by purchase as a public park and playground. 

It was in 1885 that Hughes organized the company to build a hotel to 
cost $100,000, others taking one-half the stock and he the other. Bids were 
advertised. Rivalry had sprung up as to the location at I and Tulare, and 
others boomed the erection of the Grand Vendome Hotel. This so fright- 
ened the Hughes subscribers that on the day for the opening of the bids 
all of his associates had withdrawn from the enterprise. They had organized 
and elected directors but had bought no property. Hughes took the enter- 
prise on his own shoulders, opened the bids and awarded contract to a 
Sacramento firm for $87,000 after completion of the foundation by private 
contract at a cost of $25,000. Hughes had no ready cash and depended on 
property sales and collection of debts due. 

The enterprise was ridiculed as "Hughes' Folly" and "Hughes' Ele- 
phant" and his bankruptcy was prophesied. The second story was up and 
a loan of $45,000 was made on property. Construction progressed slowly. 
Seeing the opportunity, he bought a corner lot for $15,000 and before he 
needed the money in three months sold the property for $25,000. Not satis- 
fied to hold money waiting until payments should be due be bought, by 
making a $10,000 payment, 5,000 acres in Madera for fifteen dollars an acre. 
Followed then the enterprise of erecting the three-story brick Hughes Block, 
then and for years the finest in the city. He borrowed $35,000 on the property 
and while it was under construction bought 3,400 acres more in Madera 
for $95,000 by paying $5,000 cash with promise of $10,000 in four months. 
By this time the hotel was completed and rented for five years for $1,000 
a month and a commencement was made on the sale of the Madera lands. 

The terms were the usual — one, two and three years without cash pay- 
ment — at prices from fifty dollars to $100 an acre. He bonded 9,000 acres 
belonging to others for two years at thirty dollars and forty dollars. He 
sold the first 5,000 acres bought for $274,000, making within a few dollars a 
clear $200,000. The second purchase of 3,400 acres was disposed of on 
time to buyers who opened a large territory to small holders. The 3,400 
acres bought for $95,000 realized'" $200,000 and he had still 160 acres in 
Hughes' Addition to Madera, valued then at $25,000. He had agreed with 
all the bonded to give them one-half of all he sold for over thirty and forty 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 249 

dollars. He sold in 1886, 5,640 acres of this land, clearing him for his part 
$75,000 and was satisfied that he would -clear another $50,000 on the remainder, 
realizing for the owners the same amount over and above the prices they 
would have sold at the time that they bonded. The contracts not completed 
were assigned to others. 

In the spring of 1887 there was a move to build a street railroad up 
Mariposa Street. Hughes wanted it in front of his hotel, then still under 
construction. He organized the stockholders in the fair association, they 
incorporated, Hughes took one-third of the stock and the street car line 
was run to the fair grounds from the railroad depot, up Tulare, turning 
the corner at the hotel, and along I to Ventura and on that avenue to 
the grounds. The foothill country attracted his attention and in 1886 survey 
was made for a railway to the mountains in the expectation that capital 
and land owners along the right of way would assist in the building. The 
project failed. It was revived in the summer of 1888, two surveys were 
made, the route mapped and such progress made that money was paid in to 
incorporate and secure rights of way. 

From Detroit, Mich., came in the spring of 1889 an agent to look into 
the timber belt in the eastern Sierras. He made report to his principals, who 
sent out more agents ; and Hughes and associates organized again to build 
a road to Kings River Canyon, but it was another failure. February 1, 
1891, "the bold and beardless boy," Marcus A. PoUasky, loomed up on the 
horizon for the third time and launched on a meteoric career to induce 
the giving to him of subsidy for a railroad to the mountains. J. D. Gray, 
F. G. Berry and Thomas E. Hughes agreed to raise $100,000 for him and 
secure rights of way, provided he would build 100 miles of road, equip and 
maintain it. February 23, 1891, the San Joaquin Valley Railroad was incorpo- 
rated with the above-named as directors, Pollasky, president, and Hughes, 
vice-president. The subsidy was raised and work was promised to be com- 
menced in thirty days. Hughes threw the first shovel of dirt. It was the 
sixth time, as Hughes said in a speech, that he had put his name to sub- 
scriptions to aid a mountain road. The celebration of the throwing of the 
first shovel was on the 4th of July. 

The "Father of Fresno" was in a prophetic mood on that day. The 
mountain road, he said, meant "millions of dollars to be invested in fac- 
tories of various kinds and is but a small part of what will follow. Three 
years from today 1,000 towboats will be used to transport your products to tide 
water. Three years from today you will have two other railroads running 
through your city competing for your patronage. Ten years from today your 
imports will be, instead of $10,000,000, increased to $50,000,000 and the 
end not yet estimated." 

About twenty-five miles of the road were built to the San Joaquin 
River to a newborn town named Pollasky, and afterwards renamed Friant. 
This Pollasky was after all only a secret agent working in the interests of 
the Southern Pacific, which absorbed the road as a feeder to shut out any 
competition. There was a hue and cry that was not hushed for years and 
the experience was a block to every projected competing railroad enterprise, 
even the coddled San Francisco and Valley Railroad on which the people 
had pinned their faith as a pledged independent competing road, being ab- 
sorbed by purchase by the Santa Fe Railroad as regards the line from 
Rakersfieid to San Francisco. The valley had again to acknowledge that it 
was again bitten after its liberal subscriptions, bonuses and grants of rights 
of wa}'. 

In the year 1893 no man in the central part of the state was better 
known than Thomas E. Hughes. He was at the head of almost every enter- 
prise in Fresno and Madera Counties. He had made a great deal of money. 
Came then the panic period of 1893 with collapse of the boom. The land 



250 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

did not realize the value that he set on it and as mortgage on mortgage 
was foreclosed and deficiency judgments were piled up as liens against his 
properties he was forced into insolvency. The petition was filed January 8, 
1894; liabilities placed at $176,520.24; assets nil. The San Francisco Theo- 
logical Seminary of San Francisco was a secured creditor for $90,000, the 
hotel the security property. The insolvency came not as a surprise. Mrs. 
Hughes had filed insolvency petition on her separate property two months 
before. And this was the end, where once he had owned almost everything 
in sight. 

At the age of sixty-nine and accompanied by wife, in 1899 he cast his 
lot in Mexico in the state of Oaxaca in the mining district of Taviche, and 
for nine years acquired mining properties, sold mines to advantage and 
bonded to English capital for sufficient to place him, as was believed, once 
more in the list of the rich. It was delusive. So was his later grant coloniza- 
tion project. He made his home in Los Angeles after his return from Mexico 
first, in 1908. The colonization scheme was in connection with a tract of 130,- 
000 acres near Manzanillo. 

The Hughes home vineyard was only saved by a lucky stroke of for- 
tune. That property was made a gift to the daughter and was saved from 
the wreck. It has since been subdivided and sold as residence lots. "The 
Father of Fresno" told this story of the windfall ; "In 1891 I was in need 
of money and I induced my wife to place a mortgage of $10,000 on eighty 
acres of her land which adjoined the City of Fresno (on Ventura Avenue), 
deeding her the Hughes Hotel and furniture. Raisins and dried fruit be- 
came so low that people who owed me money could not pay even their in- 
terest. Suit was brought to foreclose the mortgage of $10,000 and it was 
advertised to be sold in twenty-five days, and I had no idea how I could 
raise the money to save the eighty acres. My wife drew $15,000 in the old 
Louisiana lottery, paying ofif the mortgage and saving her land." 

The oldest son of Thomas E. Hughes, named Thomas M., died in this 
city at the age of thirty years and eleven months, February 23, 1885. His 
first wife was Huldah, daughter of Jesse Morrow. The second marriage was 
in June, 1884, to Miss Annie Johnson, and shortly after their return from 
the bridal tour he took to the bed from which he never arose a well man. 
Mrs. Annie E. Hughes died at Los Angeles, May 20, 1911, having been a 
resident of California for sixty-three years. 

Louis Einstein 

A man of retiring disposition, shrinking from a public life, never more 
contented than when in the privacy of the home circle, one who was the 
personification of old-fashioned conservatism and yet in his very passiveness 
filled a part in the upbuilding of Fresno City, was Louis Einstein. He died 
in November, 1914, honored and mourned. This pioneer merchant and banker 
of years of experience locally, of judgment and tact, was very generally 
appealed to as a counsellor whether in matters of private or public concern. 
He was respected because of his business integrity. 

Born in Germany, he came to .America at the age of eighteen, engaged 
in the dry goods business at Memphis, Tenn., and in 1866 at the invitation 
of a relative came to the budding little city of San Francisco as bookkeeper 
for Wormser Bros., subsequently going to Portland, Ore., and establishing 
a wholesale liquor house. Three years later, he returned to California and 
attracted to the San Joaquin Valley in January, 1871. here he established 
his permanent home, here he grew up with the country and here he died 
and lies buried. 

He became associated in business with Elias Jacob at Visalia under 
the firm name of Jacob & Einstein. It had a branch store at Centerville in 
this county as far back as 1870 in charge of H. D. Silverman, whose home 
residence later in Fresno early pioneers will recall as having been on the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 251 

bluff now occupied by the Forsyth building at the prominent business cor- 
ner at Tulare and J. Mr. Einstein entered the Visalia firm in August, 1871, 
and the announcement in the public print at the time was that it had com- 
pleted "a fine one-story house at Kingston, twenty-four by fifty feet," also 
"a warehouse which they have filled with grain, flour and provisions" and 
that building, not designating which, was regarded "as an ornament to 
Kingston." It was the store which while in charge of Mr. Einstein was one 
of the several places that was looted in the memorable robber raid by the 
bandit gang of Vasquez, when the hamlet on the Kings River was shot up 
by the desperadoes and the pursuing villagers, and that Mr. Einstein was 
left a gagged and pinioned victim by the robbers. 

The Visalia firm did a large business and in June, 1874, buying the 
pioneer store of Otto Froelich at the new railroad town of Fresno, articles 
of association were entered into between Jacob, Einstein and Silverman as 
Jacob & Company at Fresno, as E. Jacob & Company at Centerville, as Jacob, 
Einstein & Company at Kingston with Launcelot Gilroy as an associate 
and as Jacob & Einstein at Visalia. Mr. Einstein moved then to the new 
county seat and in February, 1875, he and Silverman bought out Jacob & 
Company of Fresno and E. Jacob & Company of Centerville. The new 
Fresno firm became Silverman & Einstein and continued as such until the 
death of the first named in August, 1877, Louis Gundelfinger purchased the 
estate's interest later. Mr. Einstein on a visit to Germany had induced him 
to come to California and a $200,000 capitalized stock corporation resulted 
in December, 1888. 

Firm name was changed to Louis Einstein & Company and years later 
the various interests were reincorporated. From the pioneer location at 
Mariposa and H in a store erected in 1875 as the third brick structure in 
the city, enlarged and improved with expansion of the business, it moved 
uptown to Tulare and K (Van Ness) on completion of the Rowell-Chandler 
modernized building. In the original location also were because of prox- 
imity to the railroad station across the half square the telegraph, express 
and post office, the latter the second in the little town with Charles W. De 
Long as the second postmaster appointed in November 1873 to succeed 
Russell J. Fleming, still in the land of the living as is De Long. The latter 
received the munificent annual remuneration of twelve dollars. 

Mr. Einstein was founder and president of the Bank of Central Cali- 
fornia organized February 26, 1887, for years located at Mariposa and the 
alley between H and I. It is now known as the reincorporated Bank and 
Trust Company of Central California with the estate represented by his sons 
in controlling interest. At his death, he was accounted one of the richest 
men in the county. It was a question which was the richer, he or John W. 
Patterson of the' Fresno National Bank whose wealth came largely by 
inheritances. 

Mr. Einstein early devoted his personal attention to banking. He had 
other interests as in a smaller bank in Coalinga, besides large real estate 
holdings in the choicest residence and business districts and in outlying 
locations toward which the city's growth was trending, all of them en- 
hancing in value as the city grew. Before the day of banks, Einstein & Sil- 
verman, Kutner, Goldstein & Company, other mercantile firms and the large 
grain, sheep and cattle buyers were the money brokers and providers and 
during the dry farming era financed the ranchers and carried them over bad 
periods until the lucky year came when with one fortunate season the 
accumulated debt was wiped out. A close observer of human nature and 
character, many a tale is told of Mr. Einstein's helpful financial aid given 
at times on no' more tangible security than his faith in the integrity of the 
applicant. 

He was never allured by political life, though never holding back his 
influence in whatever was helpful to the moral and civic uplift of the com- 



252 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

munity. He gave his aid in organizing the free Ubrary movement, was a 
patron of the Uberal arts and of music and took an active interest in the 
formation of the Unitarian Church of the city. The Einstein and Gundel- 
finger families are related by marriage. 

The residences of Einstein and of the Gundelfingers on "Nob Hill" were 
most pretentious in their day. They were specially designed by an architect 
from San Francisco to meet the climatic conditions of the hot summers in 
being provided with latticed high basements, lofty attics and window open- 
ings in plenty for air and free ventilation. The Einstein residence was re- 
moved in the fall of 1917 to clear the site for the Liberty theater and the 
Louis Gundelfinger residence in the same block for the Liberty Market. 
The other two Gundelfinger residences between Kern and Inyo are no longer 
used as such because encroached upon by the business district. 

Otto Froelich 

Mention of Louis Einstein recalls the name of Otto Froelich, pioneer of 
the county and also of the city, when the latter boasted two houses only 
and he was its first merchant and banker. He died in San Francisco in 
March, 1898, at the age of seventy years. He was a Dane who had come 
to Millerton when it was yet a thriving mining camp and the county seat 
early in the sixties. He was for a time a clerk in George Grierson's store and 
succeeding to the business removed it to Fresno on completion of the rail- 
road in 1872. He was the first to start the hegira to the plains to lay the 
foundations of the future Fresno City. 

As before stated, that business was transferred to Silverman & Einstein 
and with Dr. Lewis Leach, William Faymonville and Charles "H. Barth he 
established the first Fresno County bank of which the First National is 
today the successor. The banking firm was known under the name of Barth 
& Froelich and was in a small brick building on the north side of Mariposa 
between I and the alley. In 1880 he was appointed post master which posi- 
tion he afterwards resigned to devote his entire time to the business of wine 
making which he and Dr. Leach had established. He was also a land owner. 

Later he moved to San Francisco and save for a year or two as cashier 
of a bank at Pasadena was in the employ of August Weihe, a moneyed man 
of the city who while never a resident of Fresno had large investments here. 
Mr. Froelich was a man of scrupulous integrity, bright and accurate in busi- 
ness afifairs, impulsive yet kindly in nature, public spirited and honorable in 
every relation of life. His name is prominent in the early records of the 
county and of the city. He left an only child, Miss Maren, an artist of 
repute in San Francisco. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 253 



CHAPTER XLIV 

In Jefferson G. James Passed Away One of the Last of the 
Picturesque Cattle Kings of Early Days of California. 
Land Baron Henry Miller Never Did Know How Much 
He Possessed in Terrain or Livestock. Frederick Roeding 
Was an Agency to Make Known the Agricultural Possi- 
bilities OF THE Desert Land Around Fresno City. S. C. 
LiLLis AS One of the Last of the Land Holding Barons. 
The Romance of Other Days Crowded Out by the Grinding 
Materialism of the Present Era and Times. 

The life histories of so many pioneers are intertwined with the besjin- 
nings of state, county or city and are as full of adventure as the wildest 
tale of fiction. Characteristic is that of Jefferson G. James, pioneer of state 
and of county and one of the last of the cattle kings. He died March 28, 
1910, at his home near San Francisco. He left widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Rector 
James, and a daughter, by a first marriage. 

James was eighty-one years of age at time of death. His estate was a 
large one, estimated to be 'worth between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000. In it 
were included about 100,000 acres of the James ranch in this county. This 
great tract on the \\'est Side watered by Fresno Slough has passed by sale 
to Los Angeles capitalists and colonizers and has several times changed 
corporate name. 

Mr. James spent life's closing years in San Francisco conducting a great 
wholesale cattle business. He was prominent for the legal battles that he 
waged in the courts of the state for eleven years. These were begun in 
1889 and involved not only Miller & Lux, the greatest cattle and irrigation 
land holding firm in the state, but also the California Pastoral and .\gricul- 
tural Company, a British corporation, and the San Joaquin and Kings River 
Canal and Irrigation Company, another Miller & Lux enterprise. In all, 
Henry Miller instituted six suits against James, while the latter had one 
against him. These were waged with bitter determination by the cattle 
kings yet never became personal in nature. 

The point whether James could take water from the San Joaquin and the 
Kings was involved in all. James' lands did not abut directly on the river 
but were on the slough and watered by the overflow. He contended that 
this entitled him to take water from the river above him. The contention 
was resisted. The decision by the supreme court after long litigation was 
for James. The decision only precipitated another battle with the San 
Joaquin and Kings Company which has a contract to take prior water from 
the river. The point then was whether James had to wait until it could have 
its 760 cubic feet of water before he could be served with any for his lands. 
In this suit the superior court gave judgment for him three days before his 
death. 

lames was prominent locally also through his connection with the 
Fresno Loan and Savings Bank, capitalized at $300,000 and organized in 1886 
and with him as president two years later. In the panic of 1893 it closed its 
doors and there was a scandal that it should have received a large deposit 
of public funds only a few hours before the closing of the doors. Its affairs 
were liquidated and settled by the late Emil F. Bernhard after long years. 
The bank erected the Land Company building at Mariposa and J, which 
passing through several hands at price record deals is the present property 



254 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

of the Einstein interests. James, it was, that erected the so-called Masonic 
hall building at Tulare and I. 

Born in Pike County, Mc, December 29, 1829, his education was that 
of the primitive log cabin school, and in 1850 with relatives he came over- 
land with a party captained by Jeflf Alman. the caravan of "prairie schoon- 
ers" toiling wearily toward the west by the famous South Pass and the 
Green and Raft Rivers. At the last named stream, James and party decided 
that the locomotion was too slow. They removed the wheels from their 
wagon, sawed out the spokes and fashioned paek saddles from the wood. 
They packed their outfit on the backs of eight fractious mules. It was a 
task that demanded patience and determination but the effort was success- 
ful. On the first day with the pack they passed 1,400 emigrant trains. 

They reached Hangtown. now called Placerville, in August, 1850, and 
turned out their pack animals to graze on the Hicks ranch on the Cosumnes 
River. The James brothers went to Greenwood Valley on the middle fork 
of the American River where each cleaned up $3,500 prospecting with sluice 
and rocker. Returning to Hangtown in April, 1852, they went back to Mis- 
souri via the Nicaragua route, traveling home from New York by rail. 

Next year, James returned to California alone bringing with him ninety- 
one young cows which being fattened sold at a profit. He engaged in mining 
at Placerville and in the business of buying gold dust. In June, 1857. he 
made another change and left for Los Angeles and on this trip laid the 
foundation of his cattle raising career with the purchase' of 960 head of 
cattle. In the fall of 1857 he drove his cattle to the famous "25" Ranch near 
Kingston in this county, then called Whitmore Valley, and next year accom- 
panied by old time vaqueros engaged in several rodeos. After gathering his 
cattle at these round-ups, he drove the animals to the head of Fresno Slough 
and tarrying there five years bought the ranch near the San Joaquin River 
on Fresno and Fish Sloughs. 

In 1850 he returned to Missouri and married ]\Iiss Jennie L. Rector 
whom he brought out to California. One child, Maud Strother James, was 
born. to them. The daughter married Walker C. Graves, a San Francisco 
attorney. After the death of the first wife, who was twelve years his junior, 
he married her sister, Elizabeth, in 1903. In San Francisco which was his 
residence and home he dabbled in politics and in 1882 was elected a super- 
visor, four years later a school director and reelected to a second term. 
Later he was the Democratic candidate for mayor but was defeated by the 
late Adolph Sutro who carried the day with his promise that if elected he 
would give San Franciscans a single and five cents street car fare rate to 
the ocean beach for popular recreation. 

Henry Miller 

A penniless butcher boy, at twenty working in the Washington Market 
in New York, in 1849 following the horde of gold seekers to California and in 
1850 still a butcher boy in the village of San Francisco, Henry ]\Iiller was 
at death at the age of nearly ninety a notable man of California, a cattle 
king of the West and founder of the famous firm of Miller & Lux, land and 
cattle barons. He died in San Francisco at the home of an only daughter, 
Mrs. J. Leroy Nickel. He had been confined to bed for nearly two years 
and was unconscious for two days before death. 

He owned an empire described as "twice the size of Belgium." He never 
himself knew how much land he possessed. At the death of Charles Lux, the 
partner, their estate was valued at twenty millions, mostly in live stock and 
land. They were wholesale cattle butchers of San Francisco and with Dun- 
phy & Hildreth enjoyed a monopoly of the business. Lux attended to the 
city butchering and selling; Miller to the ranches, the breeding of stock, 
the buying and driving of stock to market, was a man of unlimited powers 
of endurance and reputed one of the best buyers in the state. Estimate was 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 255 

made after Miller's death by experts that he had approximately 22.717 square 
miles or 14,539,200 acres under his control in California, Nevada, Oregon and 
Arizona. It was an ancient saying that Miller & Lux could drive cattle from 
Arizona to Oregon through Central California and nightly camp on their 
own land, at any stage of the journey not being out of sight of a firm ranch. 
It owned much land in Fresno in the vicinity of the triangle formed by the 
junction of Fresno, Merced and Madera counties, the great ranch being the 
Sanjon of Santa Rita in Merced and Fresno, and it was in continuous litiga- 
tion over its asserted rights over the bulk of water for irrigation from the 
San Joaquin by reason of appropriation and riparian rights. 

Miller held more land on the Pacific Coast than probably any other one 
individual. At times 150,000 cattle and 100,000 sheep grazed on western pas- 
tures, bearing the "M" brand. The firm operated a chain of slaughter houses, 
banks, stores, and hotels in addition to the ranches and ranges. Managers, 
clerks and foremen were in employ by the score, vaqueros by the hundreds : 
traction engines bought by the dozen, barb wire fencing by the mile and 
seed by the carload, for the reckoning was not in acres but in miles. The 
tale was that Miller never sold but always bought. He had a juvenile dream 
of wealth, bought land when the Spanish and American government sold 
cheap, hoarded his property and realized his fantastic dream. In Visalia 
once he made on one day entry upon six townships of land. 

It was in 1851 that he launched into business on his own account. He 
had met Lux and six years later they formed the partnership that made his- 
tory on western ranges. Their acti\'e days were when the great sweeps of 
California valleys stretched unenclosed from the Sierra Nevada foothills to the 
Coast Range and when the vast land grants were devoted to cattle raising. 
They watched the land settlers come, saw their ranches marked ofif by barb 
wire fences and farms and orchards grow where the cattle had roamed at 
will. He married ]\Iiss Sarah W. Sheldon in 1860. After Lux's death in 
1877, the business was incorporated, IMiller retaining large interests. In his 
later years he remained in the seclusion of daughter's home. He was the 
last of the great' land barons of California. Dismemberment of the vast do- 
mains will come, for conservation policies, population increases, high taxes 
and clamoring demands of settlers are making impossible the holding of 
the cattle empires of old. Lux and Miller were both German born, hard 
workers, and shrewd, and Miller all bone and muscle with no surplus flesh. 
L'Util the last he talked with a strong accent. He was prompt and decisive, 
made examination of cattle, followed up with ofifer and seldom varied from it. 

It was not unusual for him to ride seventy to eighty miles a day. If 
cattle bogged on account of high water, none worked harder in the rescue 
than he. None knew better than he the value of an efficient, trustworthy man. 
Such were always rewarded. RTany afterward financially independent owed 
their advancement to him. He allowed nothing to go to waste; his most 
frequent differences with ranch foremen were on this score. On trips from 
ranch to ranch extending over thirty days he would borrow from one to 
pay up another, keeping no memoranda and no accounts, carrying the trans- 
actions in mind, giving accurate account to bookkeeper upon return to the 
city and the monthly statements to foremen were always correct. The 
practice for years was to give on every ranch a night's shelter and supper 
and breakfast to every applying tramp for the washing of dishes or other 
service on the theory that this was a cheaper method than to court their 
enmity or invasion of hay stack with loss by fire b}' reason of carelessness or 
malice. The practice was discontinued in later years. So great were the 
cattle herds that neighborhood raids were frequent and secret service men 
were under retainer to trace down the thieves and prosecute them. Miller 
was about five feet eight inches in height, weighed about 150 pounds and was 
a bunch of nervous activity in prime. 



256 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Sensation followed the seizure, in June, 1918, by the internal revenue 
department, of the Miller properties for non-payment of $6,000,000 federal 
income taxes due. In Kern County the estate has from 140,000 to 150,000 
acres tributary to the Kern River and Lake Buena Vista, at Conner's Station, 
Millux, Buttonwillow and the lake, the bulk estate holdings being in Kern, 
Fresno, Madera, Merced and Santa Clara counties. In 1913 he placed the 
holdings in trust for the daughter and when the government sized up the 
estate there was found standing in his name only apparently from $35,000 
to $40,000. It sued for the income taxes and after its claim the state has 
another of four millions. Heirs claimed that to meet these taxes it would be 
necessary to sell off much of the acreage and in the war conditions of the 
market these sales would not net enough to meet the claims. 

The plan of seizure and sale was welcomed in some quarters as encourag- 
ing agricultural development and the fact that the subsidiary corporations 
in the irrigation counties had tied up water rights in a jangle of legal de- 
cisions as to rights and rates had enabled them to monopolize first rights. 
Heirs applied for leave to appeal from the ruling enabling the collector of 
internal revenue to take control of the $40,000,000 estimated properties, un- 
der a warrant of in distraint for non payment of $6,961,240.47 with sale an- 
nouncement June 29, also for an injunction to restrain him until the appeal is 
passed upon. With the close of the month of June. 1918. Miller & Lux. as a 
Nevada corporation filed as covering holdings in eighteen California counties 
deed of trust to the Mercantile Trust Company of San Francisco for $10,000,- 
000, securing first mortgage and refunding gold bonds for $5,000,000 as a 
transaction of July 1, 1910. and added indebtedness under a resolution of April 
30, 1918. The Miller & Lux lands in this county are of 268,092.42 acres 
in entire sections, many parcels and include the townsite of Firebaugh. The 
increased indebtedness, it was believed, was to meet the income tax demand. 
According to a report filed June 20. 1919. by R. F. Mogan as state inheritance 
appraiser, the Miller Estate owed the state $1,859,961.52 tax, being approxi- 
mately $4,000,000 less than the unofficial estimates of tax due. According 
to the report. Miller owned 119.781.25 shares of the total issue of 120.000 of 
the Miller & Lux corporation and this stock, exclusive of all indebtedness, 
was at his death valued at $31,039,143.15. 

Frederick C. Roeding 

Frederick C. Roeding. the father of George C. Roeding, who is such a 
prominent personage of Fresno, was one of the earliest large landholders 
in this section of the San Joaquin Valley and the donor of Roeding Park 
to the city of Fresno. He died in San Francisco from a stroke of paralysis 
in July, 1910, at the age of eighty-six. He was a pioneer of California of 
1849. His early education he received in Germany along business and mer- 
cantile lines. In 1846 he emigrated for South America, sailing around Cape 
Horn, landing at Valparaiso. For three years he engaged in mercantile busi- 
ness in Chili and Peru, and in 1849 left South America to seek his fortune 
in California. 

As all others he went direct to the mines but after a hard and cold 
winter returned to San Francisco where he opened a general merchandise 
store as a member of the firm of Larco & Company. He was heavily inter- 
ested in this firm until 1878. when he retired from business. In that citv 
he was one of the first Vigilance Committee of 1849 in the suppression of 
"The Hounds." In 1868 he was one of the incorporators of the German Sav- 
ings and Loan Bank, later elected vice president and cashier which position 
he held for twenty years. In that year his health failed and he retired from 
banking. 

It was in 1869 that he organized a company of well to do German busi- 
ness men which purchased 80,000 acres of land on the plains covering the 
afterward chosen site of Fresno. He was chosen one of the trustees of the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 257 

syndicate to look after its sale and management and thus became interested 
in the county and its future. In 1872 this land was divided and Roeding 
acquired eleven sections. He made the first sale to F. T. Eisen who bought 
640 acres paying ten dollars an acre, and was one of the first to enter upon 
the cultivation of the raisin and wine grape and was one of the pioneer 
authorities on the subject. A second sale was made to Charles J. Hobler, 
also of a section and at the same price. Hobler was the first after 1872 to 
introduce the French merino sheep in the county in the improvement of the 
breed. 

In 1879 Roeding interested Jefl^ Donahoo to sow 320 acres of grain as 
an experiment, Donahoo to pay twenty-five cents an acre for the use of the 
land. This was the rich sediment land bordering on Fancher Creek east of 
the city. The German syndicate was the agency and means that attracted 
settlers to the county with the possibilities of the soil under irrigation. It 
was one of the first that brought the land under cultivation on a large scale 
and led up to the extensive grain growing enterprises. It played an im- 
portant part in the agricultural development of the county, especially in the 
neighborhood where Fresno City was afterward located, and was an agency 
that was instrumental in the location of the county seat where it was placed 
by the railroad when the latter came. 

Mr. Roeding was a large land holder but before his death had disposed 
practically of all his holdings in the county. For several years prior to 1900 
he lived in Fresno, occupving the house that his son did east of Fresno. 
It was destroyed by fire December 22, 1917 at loss of $20,000. At his death 
his holdings consisted of only five lots in the city. These were in the 1200 
block on J Street, three of these occupied by the Fancher Creek Nursery of 
which the son is the manager, and two long occupied by the Borello Brothers 
as a soda water factory, afterward sold to Mrs. C. B. Shaver and on which 
the Sierra Hotel is located. In addition to the above there were several 
fine ranches west of the city. The nursery covers about fifty acres of ground, 
a specialty being made of fig, fruit, olive and ornamental trees. Its ship- 
ments go to every habitable part of the globe almost. 

The park on Belmont Avenue which bears the name of the deceased 
was a gift to the city. The oiTer of it was first made during the Spinney ad- 
ministration of city affairs in 1898. The original offer comprised a donation 
of twice as much land than incorporated in the park. The city trustees 
refused at the time to accept the gift and Mr. Roeding withdrew his offer. 
Under the L. O. Stephens' administration, the first under a charter, the 
city decided that it would like to have the land for a park and that the rejec- 
tion of the offer was a mistake. Roeding was piqued that his offer had been 
rejected and when the request came he decided to give the city only seventy 
acres but on further consideration after an inspection of the park decided 
that he had not given enough and enlarged the gift to 117 acres, the present 
acreage. Roeding Park is today a beautiful landscape garden that once 
was a sandy grain field, the stubble of which was fed to sheep. 

Angus M. Clark 

Prominent figure in his day was Angus M. Clark, a Millertonite that 
helped make county and city history. He died December 2, 1907. He was 
a Mason, a Knight Templar and Shriner and a charter member of Fresno's 
first Masonic lodge and its first master. He came to California at the age 
of nineteen during the gold excitement in 1850 and after following mining 
for seventeen years in various parts of the state came to Fresno in 1867 and 
worked in the copper mine at Buchanan, early enterprise of great promise. 

He abandoned mining work when in 1873 he was elected county clerk 
and recorder, assuming the duties of the office in March at IMillerton. In 
the fall the county seat was removed to Fresno and to Mr. Clark as the 
custodian of the public archives fell the task of removing the records to 



258 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

the new town on the plains, and he assisted at the laying- of the corner 
stone of the second county courthouse. He held the office for eleven years 
and in 1885 its business had so increased that the work of the office was 
separated and he resigned. He was elected to the state legislature this same 
year. Other political activities included two terms as district school trustee 
and two or three terms as city recorder before there was a police judge under 
a charter. 

All through the earlier years, Mr. Clark continued his mining interests 
and was associated with W. H. McKenzie in the abstract and land title 
business and owned at one time. a controlling interest in the Fresno Loan 
and Savings Bank, for a time a prosperous financial institution. Ill health 
and reverses in fortune shadowed his latter days. 

William R. Hampton 

With the aged husband William R. Hampton, in one part of the house 
struggling feebly against certain approach of death, the wife, Catherine, died 
June 13, "l908, in another part of the house of the surviving daughter of a 
family of seven with whom the aged parents spent the declining days of a 
long and adventurous life of pioneer experiences. He died July 13, 1908, she 
at the age of seventy-six, he at the age of eighty-three. 

The name of Hampton recalls the days when early activities centered 
largelv on the river in the vicinity of Millerton. The name had been for- 
gotten by all save the early residents because of the Hampton's long retire- 
ment. She had come to California from New York with her family in 1855 
to Stockton, where he had also settled on coming from Grand Rapids, Mich., 
in 1849. There they married September 4, 1862, he being in the general 
merchandising business. The Hamptons came to Fresno in 1867 and he 
entered the employ of J. R. Jones who was a general trader on the San 
Joaquin River about three miles below Millerton at a point where a ferry 
was located with the little settlement popularly known as Jonesville. 

Hampton later acquired ownership of a tract of land on the Fresno side 
of the river and embarked in the merchandising business, locating his build- 
ings at the present townsite of Pollasky which as the terminus of a branch 
railroad from Fresno to serve the mountain region opened great expecta- 
tions which have never been realized. The place is shown on early maps as 
Hamptonville and the old store building and hotel and family residence 
stand at the upper end of the park enclosure at Pollasky where the first 
large re-enforced concrete river bridge in the county was erected replacing 
the ancient Jenny Lind bridge a little distance above and carried away in 
one of the spring freshets. With the extension of the railroad Hampton sold 
his interests to it and with his wife moved to Fresno in the late 80's to 
end their days. 

Simon W. Henry 

The death at Stockton March 24, 1918, of Simon W. Henry at the age 
of eighty-two recalls one who was a resident of the county for nearly sixty 
years, a pioneer of the county of 1859 and of the city since 1874 and one 
who participated in their stirring times. Coming to the new county seat 
when the old one was virtually moved to the plains on wheels, it is of in- 
terest that he it was that erected the once well known hotel on the site of 
the postoffice. 

He owned practically the half block through fronting on Tulare and 
between I and K with a 250-foot frontage on J, now occupied by the Patter- 
son building, conducting a blacksmith shop and livery stable that at first 
fronted on the alley in rear of the postoffice and locating his home on the 
property. That cottage stands to this day on the quarter block corner not 
included in the city owned Emerson school block. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 259 

Henry held a fortune in that Tulare Street property but let it slip 
through liis hands. He was offered $90,000 for that half block by a syndi- 
cate and a $2,000 deposit was made to bind the bargain. He made offer to 
Jeff M. Shannon to exchange options, the last named owning the quarter 
block at Fresno and J as far on the latter as the Strand theater with the cot- 
tage home surrounded by an orange grove. The exchange was declined. 
Henry raised his price to $92,500. It was accepted. Then he raised to 
$95,000. This was declined, the pending deal fell through, and Henry lost 
the opportunity of his life and as the result of financial entanglements the 
property passed into other hands. 

The Henry Hotel was a popular house of entertainment. It passed un- 
der the control of various managements, known in turn as the Henry, ]\Ior- 
row. Southern Pacific, Cowan and Mariposa and the building is still in ex- 
istence but serving other purposes on the second site since its original. 

Robert Perrin 

On Sunday, Mav 5, 1918, at Williams, Ariz., and at the age of eighty-one 
years died Robert Perrin, who was a factor in the upbuilding of Fresno in the 
development of the irrigation system in the county. After the Civil War, in 
which he had commanded an Alabama battery of artillery that he had re- 
cruited and equipped, he returned to farming but in 1869 came to California 
and Fresno and purchased land. He was at first largely interested in sheep, 
associated for a time with Thomas E. Hughes and it was he, by the way, 
that introduced M. Theo. Kearney to Fresno. 

He and others conceived the plan of the upper San Joaquin River canal 
to take water from the stream near Friant (Pollasky) to be delivered on the 
plains above the river at Herndon. Later they became the controlling owners 
of the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company. It was involved in vital litiga- 
tion involving the right to take water from the Kings River and this litiga- 
tion was ended with the purchase by the canal company of the Laguna de 
Tache Grant lying along the lower Kings. This move made the later develop- 
ment of the canal system a comparatively easy matter and much additional 
land was brought under water. 

Largely through the work and influence of Perrin and associates was it 
that in the 80's and the early 90's was created the idea now hailed as 
national conservation and later the forest reserves to protect the natural 
supply of the irrigation districts. The feature of the canal company manage- 
ment under the Perrin regime was to sell a cubic foot of water per second 
for a quarter section of land in perpetuity, using the money to build and 
extend canals and laterals, while reserving the right to charge and collect 
sixty-two and one-half cents per acre for delivery of the water to the user. 

Disposing of his canal interests, Perrin went to Arizona in 1894 to enter 
the sheep and cattle business. His first visit to Arizona was in 1877 to look 
for ranges, going by steamer to Guaymas, traveling overland on horse- 
back with small party across a country infested at the time with hostile 
Indians and predatory Mexican bandits and taking up two large grants in 
the then territory of Arizona. These were stocked with sheep and cattle. 
For fifteen years before his death he had retired from active life, having 
practically divided his property between a brother. Dr. E. B. Perrin of 
Williams, Ariz., and sisters, Mrs. S. A. Thornton and Mrs. F. B. Minor of 
Fresno. The extensive Fresno Perrin Colony lands are named for him. 

S. C. Lillis 

A decree and order of distribution placed on record here from the San 
Francisco superior court January 19, 1918, is of historical note as showing 
the landed possession of S. C. Lillis, who died in Oakland almost a year 
before lacking a few days, and was one of the last living of the early land 
barons of California. , 



260 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

According to the will the distribution was in equal shares to the widow 
and only daughter, Miss Helen C. Lillis, who is cashier in the First National 
Bank at Hanford. The distribution was as to land : 
In Fresno County — 41,966.82 acres of grazing land; 

Twenty percent, interest in 4,937.97 acres. 
Half interest in another block of 15,946.47 acres. 
In Kings County an interest in 3,831.31 acres. 
In San Benito County 480 acres. 
Total— 67,162.57 acres. 

William L. Apperson 

William L. Apperson, who had passed the ken of all when he died at 
the age of ninety-three at the home of daughter, Mrs. Edward Miles, of 
near Reedley January 31, 1917, arrived at Sacramento, Cal., by ox team in 
September after leaving St. Louis, Mo., in May, 1849. He followed mining 
and made and lost several fortunes. About 1865 he forsook mining and fol- 
lowed his trade working for the government at Mare Island navy yard. The 
family came to Fresno to reside in the early 70's and being a carpenter and 
cabinetmaker by trade he opened a shop on the present site of the Grand 
Central Hotel and probably the first coffins used in Fresno were made by 
him. He had a sign over his shop "Coffins Made to Order." At one time 
he owned the two J Street lots adjoining the hotel. He was in his last days 
a great lover of pets and had chickens, quail and birds so tame that they 
could be approached and picked up. 



CHAPTER XLV 

The Small Farm in a Settlement Group Not an Idea Original 
With Fresno. Large Holdings That Recall Days of a Land 
Baronage. Central California Colony the Pioneer in the 
County and the Typical Enterprise. The Alabama and 
Holland Failures. Colonization Projects Brought on the 
Boom Period of Feverish Speculation. Sixty or More 
Agricultural Projects Floated in 1900. Early Farmers 
Were Extravagant With the Use of Cheap Water. 
Sterilization of Soil With the Appearance of Alkali is 
a Consequence. 

Distinctive feature that the small farm was in the colony settlement 
system as a contributor to the agricultural development, the general wealth 
and the individual prosperity, it is not to claim that the idea originated in 
Fresno, successful on a large scale the demonstration as nowhere else. The 
colony or settlement of small places was a borrowed one from Southern 
California in the notable examples of Anaheim thirty miles south of Los 
Angeles, Orange, Riverside in San Bernardino and the Indiana Colony which 
yielding to the quicker and large returns from lot sales resulted in the town 
of Pasadena. 

NordhofT. whose little book with its revised edition did as much to 
make agricultural California read about as all the boom literature since, 
traveled over the state making notes and acknowledged that he was amazed 
in the fall of 1881 at the great changes after an absence of nine years wher- 
ever the small farmer had come in with his careful culture and scientific 
planting. Said he: "Fresno County, which eight or nine years ago was 
given over to cattle, and where a man put in a hundred acres of wheat at 
the peril of his life and with an almost certainty that cattle would destroy 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 261 

it before it was half grown is now dotted with colonies, where after five or 
six years only of settlement trees and vines are coming into bearing and the 
former desert has become a prosperous and happy country side." 

Nordhoff quotes the assertion that "California was made by Providence 
for the small farmer." Californians once denied the allegation, declaring 
that in general it was fit only for great holdings on which the moneyed, 
absentee owner could raise cattle, sheep and wheat in the loose and wasteful 
manner of the Californian as did the Spaniard before him, with the aid of 
unskilled labor directed by a foreman. Big ranches there are yet but they 
are hazardous ventures, and the fact is that in the big valley the twenty, 
forty and eighty-acre farmers brought the lasting and real agricultural pros- 
perity. There, where wheat was once the big and only crop, the man with 
less than 320 acres classed himself as an humble small farmer. Slowly but 
gradually the conviction forced itself that eighty acres with water on a 
good location was a little too much, forty a liberal plenty with which to 
make a fair start in life, and twenty just enough for one man on which to 
make a comfortable living for self and family and have something over with 
industry and health for the proverbial rainy day. Wonders have been accom- 
plished with ten acres by men who were not overambitious, not overbur- 
dened with money and hesitated not to combine brain and brawn in the 
labor in the field. Intelligent twenty-acre men are laying up what eastern 
farmers would consider a fortune and are enjoying during the accumulation 
process more of the comforts and pleasures of life. 

Interesting from a historical standpoint and as recalling the days of 
land baronage is the following list of large block holdings once owned by 
Fresnans. In the course of time changes in ownership and subdivisions of 
the tracts have come about, but not in connection with the early coloniza- 
tion enterprises. In the list are eleven as follows : 

ADOBE RANCH of 68,000 acres on the Fresno River, ten miles from 
Madera, J. G. Stitt owner. 

DAULTON— 16,000, ten miles from Madera, H. C. Daulton. 
FISH SLOUGH — 40,000, twenty miles southwest from Fresno, J. G. 
James. 

HAZELTON— 3,800 on the Kings River near Centerville and twenty 
miles east of Fresno, William Hazelton. 

HELM — 14,000, four miles north of Fresno, intersected by Kings River 
and San Joaquin Canal, William Helm. 

HERMINGHAUS— 20,000 on south side of San Joaquin, twenty-five 
miles northwest of Fresno, Gustavus Herminghaus. 

HI LDRETH— 12,000, fifteen miles east of the railroad and five north of 
the San Joaquin, Charles IMcLaughlin. 

LACUNA DE TACHE — 48,000-acre Spanish grant to Jose Castro on 
the Kings River, twenty miles south of Fresno, Jeremiah Clarke. 

MILLER & GORDON— 5,700 on north side of San Joaquin, twenty 
miles north of Fresno, W. C. Miller and Alexander Gordon. 

MILLER & LUX— 200,000 acres extending from Coast Range on the 
west to the Central Pacific Railroad line on the east with over seventy miles 
of board fencing and about fifty of irrigating canals, Henry Miller and 
Charles Lux. 

SUTHERLAND — 14,000 on both sides of the Kings, twenty miles south 
of Fresno and ten from the railroad, John Sutherland. 

Without extension of irrigation, it goes without saying the colony farms 
that sprang up all around Fresno and the county over would not have been. 
Results came after patient waiting, much planning, hard labor and many a 
setback. Had development of Fresno's dry plains been an easy task, there 



262 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

would have probably been no colonization, or rather the more favorable 
conditions and superior natural advantages of other localities would have 
attracted for settlement the people of moderate means. It is needless to con- 
sider the difficulties that were in the way of the early colony farmers, or the 
reasons why the productive acres of the valley lay unused so long, despite 
the cheap and rich virgin land and the abundance of water. Relatively the 
same condition exists today in lack of water and transportation as regards 
the West Side region where lie thousands of acres of the best tillable soil 
utilized only for sheep grazing or cultivated in small patches near some 
creek, the flood water of which can be conserved for the time when needed 
at seeding and after germination. The development of this area is such a 
vast undertaking that it has been doubted whether it can be carried through 
without federal government aid in a water conservation plan. 

PIONEER SETTLEMENTS RECALLED 

Central California Colony was the first in the county, fathered by Bern- 
hard Marks of San Francisco, former miner and later teacher. His plan 
was followed in main features by subsequent similar enterprises. He con- 
tracted with ^^^ S. Chapman for twenty-one square miles of best land sur- 
rounding the new town, selected six out of the center, divided this tract into 
192 twenty-acre farms, surveyed and laid out twenty-three miles of avenues 
and caused to be extended the main irrigation canal from its terminus then 
at the Henrietta Ranch and across the railroad through the proposed colony 
tract in three branches. \A'ater rights were bought from the company in per- 
petuity as a notable departure at the time from its policy of dealing with 
land only in quarter sections, practically excluding the small farmer, who 
was as yet unheard of. This very feature with other considerations sug- 
gested the adoption of the colonization plan. 

Seven broad avenues, each two miles long, were laid out running north 
and south: East Avenue bordered with almonds alternating with red gums, 
Cherry with nine varieties of cherries. Elm with cork elms, Fig with the 
White Adriatic, Walnut with the English walnut. Fruit with a variety in 
systematic alternation and West was to have been set out to eucalyptus 
but never was. Three miles long North Avenue was planted to Monterey 
Cypress and Central to Black Mission figs in all thirty-six miles of trees. 
Avenue planting was insisted upon to overcome the caprice or indifl;'erence 
of settler and to insure uniformity and system. Considerable of this planting 
was lost for lack of water at the right time but enough survived to mark this 
distinctive feature. In two and one-half years the lots were ready for irri- 
gation and fruit culture. The installment plan of payment without interest 
was allowed and included planting of two acres of raisin vineyard on every 
twenty to be cultivated and cared for without expense to the purchaser. In 
the first two years such vineyards were set out on 119 lots but lost for 
the want of water. The phylloxera vastatrix was at this time ravaging 
European vineyards. Timely warning was sounded. The only known remedy 
was submersion, easily accomplished here, before planting. The company 
was generally relieved of this in consideration of allowing colonists the esti- 
mated cost of this planting. Intention was to surround colony with a rabbit 
proof fence, project was abandoned and estimated cost divided pro rata. 

The work of surveying and constructing began in August. 1875, contin- 
ued until the winter of 1877 and the first settlers came on the land to erect 
their rude shanty homes in the autumn of 1875, hopeful, anxious and ever 
fearful of the water problem. For lack of experience, there was ignorance 
as to choice of and adaptability of the fruit varieties to plant, and how to 
irrigate scientifically, necessitating costly and aggravating experiments. The 
fate of the colony hung in the balance. Marks and Chapman seriously de- 
bated abandoning the venture by buying out the settlers and Chapman of 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 263 

relieving Marks on his contract. Better counsel prevailed, the third man 
in the project, W. H. Martin, was bought out, and the enterprise was pro- 
ceeded with on the original lines, even though Chapman was not an en- 
thusiastic believer in the colonization system. Fortunately many of the 
first settlers were of the Scandinavian race, thrifty, plodding and home 
building settlers. During the second year of the colony's existence S. A. 
Miller, a former Nevada miner then in charge of the Republican, became 
the promoter and within three years the last lot was sold. M. Theo. Kearney 
was a sales factor with judicious advertising and business energy. Central 
California Colony became a notable "beauty spot on the arid plain." Its 
history is typical of the others. 

Washington Irrigated Colony of five sections of land afterward en- 
larged to eleven lying south of and adjoining Central California was the 
next project organized in March, 1878, by J. P. Whitney, O. Wendell Easton 
of San Francisco, A. T. Covcll who was resident agent and superintendent 
with Easton as the nominal owner and general manager. In June, 1880, 
J. W. North, whose name is associated with the Riverside Colony, located 
in the colony and assumed the agency preceded by Easton and Walter 
J. Whitney. In January, 1882, G. G. IBriggs, vineyardist and fruitman of 
Yolo County, bought the unsold land and fencing in 100 acres began im- 
proving a holding of nearly 1.000 acres. The colony became an industrious 
and thrifty settlement of varied nationalities. 

The Nevada of three sections was promoted by S. A. Miller among his 
Nevada mining acquaintances whom he induced to invest in the western 
third of the tract while still with the Central California, whose w.estern 
extension was blocked by litigation. In Washington Colony only three- 
quarters of a section was sold as at first contemplated in twenty-acre tracts, 
the remainder in eighty-acre lots and quarter sections going to purchasers 
of means. Impetus was given the enterprise by the former land owners — 
Church and Roeding — in a gift of a 160-acre tract with water right for the 
erection by the colony of a fruit dryer to stimulate orchard planting. M. J. 
Donahoo was the first buyer of land and improved it notably. Among the 
early big settlers were J. S. Goodman. John R. Hamilton, William Forsyth, 
J. M. Pugh, B. R. Wood'worth and Henry Donnelly. 

Scandinavian Home Colony resulted from an organization in San Fran- 
cisco of October, 1878, to colonize either in Oregon or Washington. A visit 
was made to Fresno with the result of location on a land section, three 
miles northeast of Fresno bought from Henry Voorman of San Francisco 
on liberal terms, among others ten years' credit at low interest. Within one 
week the thirt^•-two twenty-acre lots were taken up and by the middle of 
1879 the first settler families arrived. Two adjoining sections were added 
giving the colony 1,920 acres in ninety-six lots, practically all disposed of 
in 1882 save five choice reservations. While at first the membership was 
restricted to the Scandinavian born, the bar of nationality was afterward 
let down. Scandinavian proved a distinctive success. A notable improvement 
was a winery, but the orchard was not neglected. Throughout the county 
the Scandinavian has proven himself to be a desirable and welcome settler 
and as making the best citizen. Lots bought in the Scandinavian in 1880 for 
$450 were valued unimproved two years later at $1,000 and upwards, while 
improved land was held from $100 to $300 per acre. 

The Easterby Colony of the historical ranch of A. Y. Easterby of Napa 
came about 1877 into the ownership of William O'Brien of the Nevada 
Bank and the Bonanza firm of Flood and O'Brien, upon whose death the 
bank had the management. It was sold to N. K. Masten and I\I. Theo. Kear- 
ney to colonize in June, 1880. Improvements followed with enlarged irriga- 
tion facilities. Here were located some of the best known first large raisin 
and wine grape vineyards such as Maker's. Butler's, the Fresno of 400 
acres organized by Kearney with Lachman & Jacobi and other prominent 



264 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

wine men. Some 90O acres were sold off in smaller forty and twenty-acre 
tracts. The colony was intensively cultivated and highly improved. It was 
located three miles east of Fresno and in later years with the general growth 
became a cluster of pretentious suburban farm residences of the well to do. 

Fresno Colony was the speculation of Thomas E. Hughes & Sons upon 
purchase of 2,880 acres in August, 1881, from the estate of E. Jansen and 
nearly one-half of the tract was sold in three months. The land was bought 
for six and one-half dollars an acre and sold for forty dollars and fifty dol- 
lars, over $30,000 having been realized on sales in six months. One-half of 
the land was deeded for water rights on the other half. The colony joined 
the town of Fresno immediately on the south, stretching northward to the 
boundary of Central California. It was virtually part of the town: is in 
fact part of the school district. Colony was in twenty-acre parcels, sold for 
fifty dollars an acre, $300 cash at purchase and balance at ten per cent. To 
the original tract an addition of 960 acres was made, giving a total area 
of 3,840 acres, or six miles. 

The Coulson Colony named for Nat. T. Coulson was a project of 1882 
of Dr. J. L. Cogswell with others, one mile and a half from old Centerville. 
It involved a trust estate. 

The American comprised 3,200 acres adjoining the Washington on the 
west and the Central on the south. Its twenty-acre lots sold at $700 or in 
160-acre tracts at fifteen to twenty dollars an acre with water right. 

Temperance Colony adjoined the Nevada with ex-Supervisor G. W. 
Beall as one of the larger and more prominent settlers. It was launched in 
December, 1880. Temperance and Nevada were enterprises of M. J. Church, 
the land owner, who was a total abstainer, always a temperance man, and 
in his later days embraced the faith of the Seventh Day Adventists. Accord- 
ing to the platted map, the canal branch contemplated to run on each side 
of every avenue, and on all lines of lots for the convenience of irrigation. 

SUCCESSES, FAILURES AND RESULTS 

Within a radius of less than ten miles from Fresno, there were then 
in 1882 nine wholly or partially improved colonies as above outlined, rang- 
ing in acreage from one to eleven sections. The substantial financial and 
economic success of many of these and others that followed them does not 
signify that there were no failures. 

Notable as the first failure was also the pioneer effort, the Alabama 
Colony or Settlement of 1868-70 around Borden, the pioneers mostly Ala- 
bamans. It was the only settlement south of Mariposa Creek for farming 
purposes on the plains in the sense of grain farming. It was practically 
abandoned about 1874-75. Without inquiring into all the causes for the 
failure, suffice it that "the Southern planter did not make a successful 
farmer," even with water for irrigation, and that when another set of men 
succeeded them "with other methods more adapted to the requirements of 
the times" they were more successful. 

Equally notable — though at the time considered notorious — was the 
Holland Colony of Dutch immigrants located about five miles from Fresno 
where a mansion headquarters with broad porticos was erected and stood 
until a few years ago when it was destroyed in an incendiary fire. The Hol- 
land Colony has been put down as a bare faced swindle. In one sense of 
the word it was in the representations made to induce colonization. If what 
is known now had been known then, the failure might have been retrieved in 
part. The colonists were placed on "hard pan" land which pick would not 
disintegrate and which was impervious to water. Experience since the 
colony's day in that neighborhood and on that very land has been that "hard 
pan" surfaced land is fit for agriculture but the original cost of preparing 
it for development and cultivation is much increased by reason of the 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 265 

added one of blasting the "hard pan" to reach the sub drained subsoil. 
Where this has been done, the soil has been found excellent for peaches, 
apricots, grapes and other fruits. In time the "hard pan" can be by constant 
working crumbled to assimilate with the unbared soil. It is a laborious and 
costly undertaking. With the increased value of land, while "hard pan" is 
not anxiously sought, neither is it absolutely condemned. 

These and other failures did not prevent the spread of colonies in every 
direction to which water could be directed. Features of the colonies were 
that later many purchasers were non-resident investors. Along about 1885 
when the colonization fever was at its height, Fresno was receiving extra- 
ordinary advertising all over the state. Large real estate sales agencies in 
San Francisco handling tract colonizations ran train excursions with bands 
and lunches on the grounds on the sales days, and thus brought people to 
view the country. Another feature borrowed from the Central was the plant- 
ing of border trees on the avenues. The White Adriatic was a favorite, and 
thus Fresno's prominence as a dried fig producer had its beginning. The 
Australian gum was another favorite because as a rapid grower it gave 
shade, was evergreen and furnished wood for fuel. The mulberry had its 
champions with the reorganization in 1880 of the State Silk Culture Asso- 
ciation which later became dormant. This recalls a one time popular craze. 
The Riverside Colony founded in 1870 bought its land from the California 
Silk Center Association which gave up the ghost with the recall of the state 
bounty of 1866 of $250 for every plantation of 5,000 two-year-old mulberries. 
Bounty demands were so many that treasury was threatened with bank- 
ruptcy, for the estimate was that in 1869 there were 10,000,000 mulberry trees 
in the Central and Southern portions of the state. Bounty had stimulated 
tree planting but the silk production (3,587 pounds of cocoons according to 
the 1870 census) was negligible, evidenced in a few specimen flags and orna- 
mental doilies at state and county fairs. 

With the colonization of Kearney's Fruit Vale Estate in August, 1885, 
the Chateau Fresno Avenue or boulevard was laid out to float the colony 
scheme, but conditions were exacted from land buyers on the avenue look- 
ing to its maintenance in perpetuity, even though it had not later been made 
a gift to the county. - 

Colonization projects and their promotion brought on naturally the land 
and town lot boom times of the early 80's. Curbstone brokers would turn 
a piece of property two and three times in a day. each turn at an advance, 
making big money on the day's transactions and having nothing more sub- 
stantial as the basis for the day's business than an option limited in hours 
as to time. It was big money, of course, for the owner of land not too far 
from town and accessible to water to make the necessary arrangements 
and sell a five-dollar acre for ten times that much and more as land values in- 
creased with the feverish boom demand. With the call for acreage land, 
Fresno city boomed speculatively and villa and homestead additions were 
hung on at every conceivable angle to the old boundary limits, causing 
much expense and trouble in later years in the extensions of city streets 
to the outlying districts. Vineyards and orchards were torn up and town 
contiguous acreage was cut up into city lots to bring material advances on 
sale. A sorry day came with the collapse of that unhealthy boom, due to 
inflation of values and abnormal demand not warranted by the conditions 
and the times. Years of stagnation followed before the reaction came about 
with sane, slow but substantial and apparent progress. Meantime, however, 
fortunes had been turned by those who let go on the crest of the wave and 
lost by those who held on too long and did not know when that wave had 
crested but imagined that the cresting would continue indefinitely. 



266 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

MANY PROJECTS ARE FLOATED 

In 1900 when conditions had taken a decided turn for the better, there 
were sixty or more projects floated in the county. Not all successfully 
breasted the times. Most of them did. It is a tax on memory to remember 
the names of many of these. They have been forgotten in the passage of 
time to be recalled only by an occasional transfer deed or an examination 
of the referred to descriptive recorded plat. Among the better known these 
may be recalled: 

Bank of California Tract (West Park Colony garden spot) ; Brigg's 
Selma Tract ; Caledonia Tract adjoining the county fair grounds floated by 
Alexander Gordon and Bank Cashier John Reichman succeeded by the late 
Archie Grant : Clay's Addition between Fresno Colony and the city on the 
south ; Curtis & Shoemake near Reedley : Eggers' named for G. H. Eggers 
adjoining Kutner's; El Capitan in the Malaga Tract; Enterprise of J. A. 
and A. R. Cole adjoining Eggers'; Kearney's Fruit Vale with its Monarch, 
La Favorita, Estrella, Nestell's and Paragon vineyards; his Fruit Vale Estate 
with avenues named for the Presidents and the Fruit Vale Raisin Vineyard ; 
the Fortuna of the P. I. Company in T. 15 near lands of I. N. Parlier; 
E. S. Kowalsky's Gould Ranch north of Scandinavian and the later British 
capitalized celebrated and mode! raisin and wine grape vineyard of the late 
Robert Barton, who expended $450,000 in the improvement of the estate 
when sold to the English syndicate and which stood as one of the foremost 
landmarks in the county ; the Indianola at Sanger and the Kingsburg near 
the town of the same name. 

The Kingsburg was an example in the reclamation as a garden spot of 
a veritable sandy Sahara through the advisory and practical eiTorts of the 
late F. D. Rosendahl, a graduate of the University of Sweden and a Cali- 
fornia pioneer of 1849. He had made botany a special study, was a lover 
of nature, and having traveled much had large experien'ce in liis field. He 
aided in the landscaping of Central Park in New York, Golden Gate Park 
in San Francisco and the Kearney Fruit Vale Estate in Fresno. He was 
the pioneer nursery man in this territory that stocked the vineyards and 
orchards of the neighboring counties in the Kings River watershed. It has 
been said about him that if one-half of the unsettled for nursery stock in 
plantations furnished by him on time contracts was paid for he would have 
had a competency in his old age. He was one of nature's noblemen and of 
such a philanthropic spirit that he wrought more for the community than 
in his own interest. For years he was the township justice and in office 
prevented rather than encouraged personal litigation and in that capacity 
was the father confessor, repository and pacificator of community and in- 
dividual troubles. He recognized early the possibilities of the land and was 
a factor in its improvement and development. 

Then there were the Kutner Colony one section removed from Tem- 
perance and a corner crossed by the mill ditch from Fancher Creek, the 
water of which ran the grist mill in town and passed on in ditch along 
Fresno Street for irrigation of the plains to the west of town ; the Muscatel 
just below the third Standard line southwest of Herndon of three sections 
embracing the plat town of Sycamore and avenues named for big men of 
finance — Gould, Vanderbilt, Astor and Huntington ; the Norris colonies of 
C. H. and L. E. D. Norris and J. C. Kimble, who had also one named for 
him adjoining Del Rio Rey Fig and Raisin Company in T. 15; the Nye- 
]\Iarden near Fowler of iNIrs. E. M. Nye and W. H. Marden ; the numerous 
Perrin colonies of Dr. E. B. Perrin, head and front and controlling owner of 
tlie irrigation system before it passed into English hands with Lord Fitz- 
^\'illia^ls as the titled money holder and one of whose land holdings com- 
panies trust deeded in the spring of 1917 for one million dollars covering a 
loan floated to meet a bond issue of an older corporation that had fallen 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 267 

due : Reedley of S. L. Reed around the town ; the Richland Tract adjoining 
the Caledonia and A. S. Butler vineyards and the tract with the sale of 
which the name of M. Theo. Kearney is first associated; Riverside at Reed- 
ley ; the Salinger Tract, a large body of land northeast of town comprising 
Belmont Addition and which contributed to the eastern expansion of the 
city into acreage land ; the Sierra Park Colony and Vineyard of C. K. Kirby, 
the distiller, west of Fowler, besides many others. 

Nor should be overlooked the J. T. Goodman, Frank Locan of 800 acres, 
the William Forsyth and R. B. Woodworth Las Palmas vineyards in the 
three sections of Nevada Colony; the G. H. Malter, M. Denicke, Dr. W. J. 
Baker's Talequah, the A. B. Butler, Fresno, Margherita and H. Granz vine- 
yards in Easterby Rancho and in the Fancher Creek Nursery neighborhood 
the equally prominent W. N. Oothout. Dr. Eshelman's Minnewawa, the 
Minneola in T. 14, the T. F. Eisen vineyards and the F. Roeding sections. 

The sorry fact must be recorded that the early small farmers and 
their successors for years after were extravagant in the use of water 
for irrigation. The problem that they have left as an heritage is how to 
reclaim within reasonable cost and with assurance of successful reclama- 
tion land that was once fertile but now is barren because surcharged with 
alkali. The government has demonstrated that theoretically it can be done 
by sub-drainage and leaching. The state university on the Kearney estate 
has drain-tiled a section of land with reported reestablished fertility, but time 
must more fully determine the practical success of the leaching process. 
The soakings that the large dry areas received with first and long continued 
application of water for many seasons resulted in such a saturation of the 
bone-dry subsoil that for miles about in the irrigated districts the water 
level arose from fifty to fifteen and twenty feet from the surface. In Fresno 
city at Mariposa and H Streets, the level in gauged wells there arose from 
seventy to twenty and twenty-five feet. 

Beneficial experience has taught that after a primary thorough satura- 
tion, a little water judiciously applied suffices. Too much injures trees and 
vines and forces the alkali to the top. Too many noting the marvelous effect 
of irrigation on new and raw land with the cheapness of water in Fresno — 
cheaper than elsewhere in the state — imagined that they could not abuse 
such a good thing and irrigated to excess without a thorough plowing and 
cultivating that should succeed every water application. Of late years, 
orange, citrus and alfalfa growers have turned to pumping from wells by 
electric power for irrigation in localities not served, or where the supply 
is not dependable for various causes. A flowing artesian well will irrigate 
twenty or thirty acres of alfalfa or orchard land and in cases even more. 

The more experienced farmers use water sparingly now — verily a case 
of locking the stable door after the horse has been stolen. Once upon a time 
orange orchards were drenched six or seven times in a season ; now three 
or four are considered sufficient. Vineyards were watered several times; 
now the best vineyardists irrigate once during the winter and at the most 
another slight app'lication in May. Grain land where irrigated is watered 
before ploughing. The result of over-irrigation has been to alkali sterilize 
large areas of the first colonized lands about Fresno that were once things 
of beauty and joy and show places to take the visitor to, but now are night- 
mares around which wide detours are made. 

Land has risen so in value that these sterilized spots must in time be 
reclaimed, even though there are other large tracts in the county awaiting 
the husbandman. The colonization enterprise supply in tract sales is far 
from exhausted as the recorded plat filings and real estate column adver- 
tisements in the newspapers will show. But it is colonization on altog:ether 
different lines. The day of pioneering is no more.. The worth of the soil has 
long been demonstrated. The present day colonizations are purely commer- 
ciaf affairs for seller as well as buyer. The man without money or securities 



268 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

need not apply. Where once ten's of dollars were paid for an acre, now it is 
in the hundreds, depending upon conditions or how many. Looking back 
though, it must be conceded that the country progressed more rapidly than 
did the city, and sorry indeed the city without the sustaining basis of a back 
country as in Fresno. 

CHAPTER XLVI 

Newer Town Locations Represent Later and Modern Develop- 
ment Period. Their Origin Briefly Reviewed. Fresno in 
1879 Still "A Cow County Village." Burials in Town 
Ceased Only in 1875. Two Transcontinental Railroads 
Serve County. A Remarkable Mountain Railroad Into 
THE Sierras. Automobile Has Solved Problem of Inter- 
urban Communication. 

The newer towns of the county today are "the product of the new 
blood, the newer order of things in the county," representing a later modern 
development period. In a write up published on New Year's day in 1879, 
Fresno is "damned with faint praise" and given distinction as "the largest 
place in the county," and as "one of the most flourishing villages" in the 
valley with "about 2,000 inhabitants including Chinese." 

The Expositor feigned to "know of "many elegant residences surrounded 
by beautiful gardens within the limits of the town." It also recorded that 
"unlike oth'er California towns the Chinese quarter is not located in the white 
portion of the town but is located to itself on the west side of the railroad 
track and fully one-fourth of a mile from the town proper." Much was made 
in the write up of the $10,000 "elegant" two-story, seven-room school house 
that was being erected on "a rising piece of ground north from the court- 
house." That old building turned to face another street and moved to an- 
other site on the same school block is still in use. For the period of 1876-78 
Fresno was credited by another authority with a population of "about 700 
inhabitants" and boasting "of courthouse of elegant design erected at a cost 
of $60,000" — not the present structure. 

The fact is that at this time Fresno was "a cow county village." It had 
not yet awakened to its possible future, and while there were things to 
commend many more were there to damn. It was yet in the village forma- 
tive period with a world of experiences to undergo before striding out on 
the quick march of advancement. It was still in the shanty period. The 
bungalow had not been dreamed of. The two-story brick building, plain to 
ugliness, was an architectural eighth wonder ; the sky scraper unthought of. 
The graded, chuck-hole street, deep in dust in summer a muddy quagmire 
after every shower, was a step in advance but the paved or oil surfaced 
roadway was not to be realized until years later. If you arrived by train 
at night, you were piloted with lantern across the rubbish and dumppile fac- 
ing the depot where now Commercial Park is laid out; and were you a 
resident you would be met with lantern also to pick your way across lots 
homeward. It was only about January 20, four years before in 1875, that 
burials had ceased in the first "old cemetery in the north part of town" and 
the bodies "some nine in number" were being exhumed for removal to the 
second burial ground "lying south of Chinatown" off Elm Avenue. That 
old city cemetery was at what is today M and Stanislaus Streets, less than 
six blocks east and three north from the railroad depot, then the business 
center of Fresno. When the cemetery was located there, so far out on the 
prairie, little was it thought that the town would in a few years have spread 
to there. Yet again at county seat removal time, the gift of a courthouse 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 269 

site, only one block northeast of the present location was declined and 
exchange made because too far out of town. So much for the faith that 
some then entertained as to the future of Fresno. 

There have been town locations in the county that not passing beyond 
the initial stage of founding were overcome by arrested development. There 
is not lacking in the record projected and platted towns that never had 
material existence as : 

Butler partly on the Easterby and Flenrietta ranchos on land of W. N. 
Oothout, A. B. Butler and W. D. Parkhurst and bisected by the projected 
Stockton and Tulare Railroad. 

Co veil (Easton postoffice) in Washington Colony with four blocks re- 
served for townhall, school and two plazas on four central surrounded 
blocks. 

Clifton on Washington Avenue one mile east of Prairie school house 
and on fifteen acres. 

Riverview on the north bank of the San Joaquin at the railroad bridge 
crossing and as the rival of Herndon on the south bank. 

Shelbyville in T. 14 S., R. 16 E, a notable swindle. 

Smyrna on the Kearney Fruit Vale Estate alongside of the chateau 
grounds, besides others. 

Among Fresno's newer towns may be mentioned : 

Clovis northeast of Fresno was once a grain growing country. Today 
it is a producer of more Malaga grapes than the original district of Spain. 
It is a bustling little town, the creation of the lumber company with operat- 
ing mills at Shaver in the Sierras as its flume shipping terminal with mills 
on the plains. Its payroll alone is $450,000 a year. Town has a population of 
1.500 and is the gateway to a rich section of mountain territory. It is a 
naturally favored, modernized little town with a future exceeded by none 
as the logical trading post of a 125,000-acre region for the most part in 
the thermal footbelt and awaiting development. Two colonizing companies 
will in time bring nearlv 8.000 acres under fig cultivation, one of these selling 
land at $400 an acre. 

In 1880 Fowler was marked by two shanties and the railroad siding. 
Fruitful harvests made it a large warehousing and grain shipping point. 
Fruit and raisins followed and in 1890 shipments included 688 carloads of 
grain, 153 of raisins and fifteen of green and dried fruit. Three irrigation 
ditches supply it with water. During the last ten years town and country 
have made prosperous strides. It is one of the favored spots in close rela- 
tion with the county seat since the automobile has annihilated time and 
distance. With a town population of 1,200, the tributary district claims 
5,000. To tell of all its varied resources would smack of advertising litera- 
ture. 

Sixteen miles from Fresno to the west is Kernian, central point in a 
26,000-acre colonization tract. It has had rapid and substantial growth, is 
residentially a grouping of bungalows and as with all the new settlements 
in the county is liberally provided with school facilities in modernized 
buildings with district high school af^liations. An agricultural center and 
a railroad freight transfer point, Kerman has been laid out and built up on 
progressive lines as to public utilities. Dairying is an industrial specialty. 

Laton on the Santa Fe is the natural result of the development of the 
Laguna de Tache and Summit Lake lands, as a trading center at the junc- 
tion of the transcontinental road and the Laton & Western branch. Laton 
is a village of some 600 people, in oak tree shaded and parklike surroundings 
and in a fertile territory noted for dairying, alfalfa and hog raising. It is 
picturesquely situated and though not more than ten years old is advancing 
despite a destructive fire in its eighth year. Lanare is the terminus at the 
other end of the branch road. 



270 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

Malaga is a triangularly platted hamlet central to Malaga Colony, just 
east of Central California Colony, and established by G. G. Briggs pioneer 
raisin grower of the state. The tract was of ten sections in twenty-acre farms 
and vineyards. It is in a fertile section and thickly built up with attractive 
and prosperous rural homes. 

Oleander village, seven miles southeast of Fresno and three from Fow- 
ler, is essentially an intensive farming community with 2,500 acres of raisin 
vineyards and an equal acreage in orchard, alfalfa and grain tributary, 
and with several raisin and fruit packing houses. The work in these estab- 
lishments in season is not performed by transient labor but by the villagers, 
the men, women and young people. Rural life in the Fresno settlements 
with all their comforts and social surroundings borders on the ideal. 

A great wheat field marked in June, 1888, the townsite of Reedley named 
for the late T. L. Reed. It is on the two railroads almost in the southeast 
corner of the county, twenty-five miles east of the county seat and about 
sixty from the Coast Range on the south bank of the Kings. Contributory 
to the town are 160 sections of land. It is in the Alta Irrigation District. 
Wheat and raisins are the two important exports. The region is one of 
fertility, a part of the citrus belt, and one of great promise. The first sale 
of town lots was on April 25, 1889, with the foundation of the town laid 
after the 1888 wheat crop was ofif and Mr. Reed giving the railroad company 
a half interest in 360 acres to plat and locate the townsite. On the <^ 
salesday $16,000 was realized. Reedley is contiguous to the Blount Camp- 
bell orange country, a sight of which is an inspiration. 

As late as May, 1888, a spreading wheat field covered the ground where 
today the bustling little foothill town of Sanger is as the result of a location 
on a division line of the Southern Pacific. It is fourteen miles east of Fresno 
and was founded as the industrial terminus and mill-town of the 'Kings 
River Lumber Company with its fifty-four miles of flume to float down 
from Millwood, high up in the Sierras, the lumber cut in Converse Basin, 
around Millwood and the nearby timber forests, operations which with the 
changes of time and ownership successions are being conducted by the 
Sanger Lumber Company in the new mountain sawmill town of Hume on 
Ten-Mile Creek to which the base of operations was moved across a moun- 
tain ridge from Millwood in the upper Kings River region. Ground was 
broken for the $35,000 concrete dam to create an eighty-seven-acre lake of 
impounded water from the creek on June 26, 1908, and work completed late 
in November. The dam project was worked out by Civil Engineer J. S. 
Eastwood on original lines as a unique piece of engineering and construction 
work. The dam has the appearance of a long bridge of arches and buttresses 
set on edge, with the rounded arches withstanding the immense pressure 
of water in the lake behind thern, but receiving it equally distributed at all 
points. The dam is the first of its kind in the world. The town was laid out 
on sanitary lines and seventeen and one-half miles were added to the flume, 
joining the old one at Mill Flat Creek. The first lot sale in Sanger was 
held in June, 1888, and the result of the location was the depopulation of 
pioneer Centerville. Sanger is on the edge of the thermal belt and in a rich 
fruit and raisin country. Centerville was only three miles awav southeast. 
East of Sanger is the foothill orange belt, west and south the famous "red 
lands" so adapted to raisin grapes. Sanger is a wide awake town of cnsv and 
pretty homes, and an estimated population of 2,500 in 1914, has steadily 
grown and advanced and has a magnificent future. 

Selma on the line of the Southern Pacific, about fifteen miles southeast 
of Fresno and five miles from Kingsburg, once on "a sandy desert," was 
located on his soldier's land warrant in 1878 by Jacob E. Whitson, a veteran 
of the Civil War, former county treasurer and founder of the town. As late 
as 1879 the country about was utilized by the herdsman for the wild grasses 
as stockfeed. \A'hitson's location was 160 acres and he laid out the town in 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 271 

1882. It was for a money consideration paid by him, aided by E. H. Tucker, 
M. Snyder and G. B. Otis, whom he gave equal interests in town lots, that 
the railroad was induced to build a small switch to the town, which in 
1882 had a population of less than 250 but of 1,000 five years later. The 
neighboring land was brought under irrigation by the main branch of the 
Centerville and Kingsburg Ditch Company and vineyards, orchards and 
alfalfa were the plantings. The soil is sandy and specially suited for the 
peach which is the leading specialty. The town draws its support from the 
cultivated area surrounding it and its growth has been despite discouraging 
reverses, especially in destructive fires. The community is a prosperous one, 
overshadowed commercially as it always will be by reason of its proximity 
to Fresno. It is preeminently an ideal town of attractive homes, churches, 
schools, fraternities and of high moral tone, having early in its career no 
less than ten organized churches. Selma is typical of the best developed 
phase of semi-rural life in the San Joaquin Valley with a population 3,500. 

Mendota is a divisional point on the Southern Pacific. Friant, or Pol- 
lasky as once known, is on the San Joaquin as the brancli terminus serving 
the Millerton region and the northeastern mountain country (jf Fresno ancl 
Madera. A fine, arched, concrete bridge spans the river at this point, and 
another below Herndon, Skagg's bridge, at an old time ford crossing. Oak- 
hurst on the Santa Fe is the center of the Kings River Thermal Tract and 
Wahtoke at the terminus of the Reedley branch is in the orange belt. 

A region west of Fresno on the Southern Pacific line, south from Ker- 
man, was opened to development about five years ago and given over to 
alfalfa, fruit and grapes. Located on the line are Raisin City, a community of 
Dunkards, nine miles west from the county seat, and five miles south of Caru- 
thers, both central to 50,000 acres susceptible of development. 

Parlier is in a rich strip of territor}-, northwest of Reedlev and is a 
grape center on the Santa Fe. Del Rey, north of it, is a raisin shipping point 
with three packing houses. 

Evidences of the new blood are to be seen also in the many changes 
in the Pine Ridge mountain region, once monopolized by the saw mills. 
Apple and fruit orchards and berry and vegetable patches now mark the 
meadows and plateaus; there's Ockenden, popular mountain resort; Shaver, 
the lumlier mill village with its Sulphur Meadow as a favorite summer 
camping ground, and beyond it on lake the headquarters of the Shaver Lake 
Fishing Club, unique organization of trout anglers. On the other side of 
the Kings divide there is, starting out from Reedley, the county built Sand 
Creek mountain road with hardly a perceptible grade to Sequoia Lake, 
trout fishing, camp ground and the popular General Grant National Park 
resort, the road continuing to Hume and joining the state projected exten- 
sion to open up eventually the Kings River Canyon as accessible playgrounds 
in a scenic region that when better known will rival the Yosemite. In its 
mountains Fresno County has a valuable scenic asset that has too long 
been neglected. 

ON THE RAILROAD LINES 

.\ few years ago when there was agitation for interurban railroads, 
the map of the county was described as looking "like a gridiron of rail- 
roads." The description was fantastic rather than real. A great ado was 
made over several projected enterprises, but after all the smoke and noise 
the net result was onl}' two small electric lines, one running out east of 
Fresno, never completed to Clovis as the planned terminus, camouflaged as 
an interurban road, operated at a loss and in court in foreclosure litigation 
based on its quarter of a million bonded indebtedness, and the other a city 
line extension to new farming settlements west of Fresno. Talk alone will 
not build interior and seaboard connecting railways, however urgent the 



272 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

need for them. The promoter faces the fact of the Southern Pacific and 
the Santa Fe in control of the situation, working in harmony to maintain 
the monopoly and blocking competition by open hostility or extinguishing 
it by absorption, when not actually promoting a "feeder" branch under 
guise of an independent enterprise of private capital. The interurban prob- 
lem has been solved in part by the automobile. 

Two transcontinental roads serve the county. Many villages and settle- 
ments have of late years sprung up on the branch lines as the result of the 
colonization and sale of tracts for orchards, vineyards and alfalfa. With 
the consequent development of the county, there are many central points 
that could be catalogued, but with a sameness in detail and altogether lack- 
ing the picturesque features of the early settlements. As the inspirations 
of speculative colonization and industrial enterprises, they are too numerous 
for detailed mention. The Southern Pacific main line passes across the 
county on a direct line at its narrowest from Herndon on the San Joaquin to 
Kingsburg on the Kings, and south of the county seat through Calwa Junc- 
tion, Malaga, Fowler and Selma. Another line enters the county from the 
northwest through Firebaugh, Mendota, Ingle, the site of Jameson, Ker- 
man to Fresno, and from Fresno south and to the east of main line through 
Sanger and to Reedley on the Kings. Jameson is named for the late Jefifer- 
son G. James of San Francisco, pioneer cattle man and one time owner of 
the big Jefif James ranch in the West Side slough country. 

West of Fresno the main line is paralleled by a branch starting from 
Kerman running south through Dubois, Raisin City, Caruthers to Lillis 
named for S. C. Lillis, who died January 22, 1917, at Oakland, Cal. Lillis 
was a picturesque relic of the pioneer land baron of early California, owned 
at one time one quarter of the great Laguna de Tache cattle ranch of the 
Spanish days, occupied the headquarters Grant House as his home, and 
could •claim possession of 140.000 acres of land. His name is associated with 
the Laguna lands and lawsuits with the government, serving a term of 
imprisonment for the ofl-'ense of fencing in public lands. 

Still further west of Kerman, branching at Ingle and running south is 
a line through Tranquillity, Graham, Caldwell, Helm and other slough set- 
tlements to Riverdale on the Laguna, the Hanford and Summit Lake Rail- 
road. This line is in the rich slough country formed by the back water 
from the San Joaquin and the overflow from the Kings. A great reclama- 
tion work is in progress there. The 72,000-acre James ranch has been 
opened to colonization and is being developed by its syndicate successor, the 
Graham Farm Lands Company incorporated for $3,000,000 to handle the 113- 
square-mile farm project. Jameson and Tranquillity Colony and town have 
been relegated to the past. The Laguna de Tache is a British capitalized 
enterprise, the same that controls the irrigation system. Its colonization 
was begun a decade ago and thousands of settlers have been brought on 
the land. To the original ranch grant have been added the Summit Lake 
lands rounding out a tract of 40,000 acres. Laton is the seat, with Lillis 
one mile and a half west, Kingsburg at the eastern end of tract, Lemoore 
in Kings County near the western, and the railroad to Coalinga a little to 
the south, flanking it the full length. This slough branch joins an east 
and west road touching the Southern Pacific main line south of the county, 
running west again into the cgunty, passing through Rossi, Huron and 
Stanley to Coalinga and beyond to Alcalde on Warthan Creek, a stock ship- 
ping point for the Coast Range foothills. A northeast Southern Pacific 
branch from Fresno passes through Clovis with Friant on the San Joaquin 
as the terminus in the Millerton country. This is the Pollasky road, so-called. 

Above and west of development arrested Herndon, the Santa Fe enters 
the county from the north and heads direct for Fresno, passing through 
the city on O Street, four blocks behind the courthouse. It branches with 
one fork southeast, later joining the main line further down but passing 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 273 

through Lone Star, De Wolf, Del Rev and Parlier to Reedley from whicli 
latter extends a branch northeast through Vino, Wahtoke to Piedra on the 
upper Kings where the magnesite mountain mine, the street-paving rock 
quarry and crusher are located, where canal companies take water from 
the stream and in which foothill region there is a well marked thermal belt. 
Main line headed south touches Oleander, Bowles with its colony of in- 
telligent and thrifty colored settlers from the south, Monmouth, Conejo and 
Laton, and out of the county. At Laton in the southwestern part the Laton 
& Western runs to Lanare as a feeder in a newly opened district. One 
mile southeast of Fresno is the railroad town of Calwa through which the 
Southern Pacific passes and where the Santa Fe has expended one million, 
it is said, for terminal switching facilities not to be had in the county 
seat, and for homes for railroad employes and those of industrial plants 
that time, it is hoped, will bring forth. 

North of Clovis at El Prado is the terminus of the San Joaquin & 
Western, the unique mountain road to the great Power House No. 1 of 
the San Joaquin Light and Power Company. Its terminus is high up in 
the Sierras at Cascada where a stupendous construction feat was accom- 
plished in the erection of an immense dam to impound the waters of Big 
Creek to form Huntington Lake for the generation of electricity and its 
transmission for power and light. A mountain resort has been established at 
the lake. Much has been said and written about the Mount Lowe scenic rail- 
way at Los Angeles and the tortuous railway to the top of Mt. Tamalpais on 
San Francisco Bay, but neither can compare with the Fresno scenic railway 
in the ascent of the Sierra Mountains and on shelving mountain side fol- 
lowing for miles the winding course of the San Joaquin in its rugged and 
wild canyons. Its scenic pictures are bewildering. A feature of the road is 
that the rolling stock is not hauled up the snaky mountain track but is 
pushed up by the locomotive placed where one looks to find the homely 
caboose. The descent is by gravity with the locomotive in rear that the 
train may not run away. This mountain road serves all the accessible Sierra 
timber region on the San Joaquin River divide of the county. The story is 
told that the cost of blasting out the original wagon road, which the rail- 
way follows in its sinuous track, with the added construction, equipment 
and operation of the steam railroad was found to be a substantial saving 
in the estimated mountain freighting of the cement and the construction 
material for the dam, tunnels and big power house, wherefore the San Joaquin 
& Western was conceived as an cconomv. 



274 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 



CHAPTER XL VII 

Incorporated Cities of the County Number Nine. Newness of 
THE Towns on the Plains With Fresno as Oldest Located 
AND First to Incorporate. Settlements Existing Before 
1872 ARE Memories of the Past. Clusters of Population 
Before 1880. Earlier Trading Points Recalled to Mind. 
With Madera's Divorce in 1893 Went the Early Histori- 
cal Region of Fresno County North of San Joaquin River. 

Incorporated towns and villages in the county today are nine with the 
date of and vote on incorporation as follows : 

Election Date Vote Cast 

Fresno September 29, 1885 277—185 

Selma March 4, 1893 124— 54 

Coaling:a March 26, 1906 99— 28 

Kingsbur? Mav 11, 1908 72— 34 

Fowler .^ ^la'v 25, 1908 74— 63 

.San-cr _ __MaV '>. 1011 130—104 

Clovis rel.riKirv 15, 1912 169— 83 

Reedlcy February 14, 1913 310—104 

Firebaugh September 10, 1914 56 — 7 

Fresno is also the oldest town in the county reckoned from the year 
1872 wlien townsite was staked and located, unless you would include 
moribund Centerville in the Kings River bottom lands and Firebaugh in 
association with the ferry of the same name established in the earlier days, 
which would place Fresno third in the list. If not, Kingsbnrg would be the 
second oldest, having been founded in 1873 as a grain shipping station. At 
any rate not any of the nine incorporated population centers today are con- 
nected with the pioneer history of the county. ^Vith the location of Fresno 
on the plains, the center of population also changed, the county began a 
new historical era and all before became practically a sealed and closed book, 
so all comprehensive were the changes that followed. 

This accounts for the comparative newness of the towns on the plains. 
The settlements before 1872 are today little more than memories, decaying 
and toppling ruins, as notably Centerville, Kingston, Tollhouse, Dunlap, 
Herndon, Millwood, etc., besides all the roadside hamlet stations, once bus- 
tling spots but perpetuated today only in post office names and stores. The 
cutting off of the territory north of the San Joacjuin to the Chowchilla to 
form 5ladera County in 1893 bereft Fresno of its principal historical region, 
leaving iiiil\ the strips immediately about [Nlillerton and Centerville" and 
the I'liu; I\ii1l;<- region to link it witji the past. Even the Fresno Jiiver is in 
another c<iunt}'. so is the historical Chowchilla and so is Madera, once the 
largest town next to the county seat, and Borden, Fine and Coarse Gold and 
Grub Gulches, and all the other mining camp locations that contributed to 
earliest history even to the last resting place of ^lajor James D. Savage, 
the most picturesque character in the region's annals. 

In January, 1879, the postoffices in the county — towns or settlements 
as they were denominated — were: Berenda, Borden, Buchanan, Big Dry 
Creek, Fresno, Fresno Flats, Firebaugh, Huron, Kings River, Kingsbnrg, 
Kingston, Liberty, Madera, New Idria, Panoche, Tollhouse and \Mrdflower 
• — seventeen in all and six of these not now in the county. To dispose first 
of the six: 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 275 

SETTLEMENTS BEFORE 1880 

Berenda called into existence in June, 1872, when Leroy Dennis, former 
sheriff, erected store and hotel, is still a station on the Southern Pacific 
Railroad and was terminal for the mail stage route to Buchanan and Fresno 
Flats, located in the mountains forty miles from Fresno. It is a relic of 
the past. 

Borden, seventeen miles from Fresno and on the line of the Southern 
Pacific, was a busy station when Fresno was a barren plain. Its settlement 
was in 1868, and in 1873 as post office and trading point for the Alabama 
Settlement of Southerners, which ended in a fiasco. Borden aspired to be 
county seat to succeed Millerton. With the failure of colony, it was prac- 
tically abandoned. It was overshadowed at best by its proximity to Madera, 
and existing today only as a railroad point on map lives in a dead past. 
R. Borden was Central Pacific Railroad agent and R. P. Mace the hotelman 
in 1876-78. It was dignified once in a description as "the metropolis of 
Fresno County." 

Buchanan's glory has long departed. Located in the northern foothills, 
it was called into life by the discovery of copper ore veins, notablv the Ne 
Plus Ultra. Much money was spent in development but high cost of labor 
and transportation made the venture unprofitable. In the vicinity ranching, 
sheep and stock-raising were followed. H. C. Daulton had near here his 
large and valuable Poverty ranch, and Buchanan boasted of a $2,000 school- 
house. 

Fresno Flats is today a tumble-down mountain camp near the head of 
the Fresno River in a farming, mining, lumber and stock raising country. 
The Yosemite road passed it and the head of the Madera flume is eight miles 
away. Discovered cpiartz outcroppings once promised a future never realized. 
T. J. Allen was postmaster and general merchant, R. T. Burford lawver 
and Thurman & Dickinson lumber men there in 1876-78. Smaller camps in 
the hills to the south and east in the 80's were Michael's and Walker's 
ranches. Brown's store and Oro Fino. 

As the child of a flume enterprise, Madera, twenty-eight miles northwest 
of Fresno, was laid out in 1876 by the California Lumber Company on the 
south side of the Fresno River on the Central Pacific line, as the terminus 
of the first great lumber flume from the mountain pineries forty-five miles 
distant. Its population in 1882 was about 500, and until the formation of 
Madera County of which it became the seat was the second largest and 
most flourishing town in Fresno County. R. P. Mace, who represented this 
county in the legislature at two sessions, was the pioneer settler securing in 
September, 1876, first choice at the auction of town lots and located thereon 
the hotel bearing his name and facing the railroad depot. The Madera 
Flume and Trading Company supplanted the California in 1878, and has 
continued as one of the dominant industrial enterprises of the town. Madera 
was the terminus for the stage route to the Yosemite Valley and Big Trees. 
It is a thriving community centered in good farming land, much of which 
was held in large undivided parcels. It was a political center while a part 
of Fresno County with ambitions not to be satiated save through county 
division. Seven miles south was located the much advertised John Brown 
Colony enterprise of 3,500 acres in five-acre farm lots. The industries and 
enterprises that give life to Madera are on the same lines as those of the 
parent county. For years after first settlement mining, stock raising and 
grain farming ruled in turn and orchard and vineyard demonstrations 
brought about a transformation. It had in 1900 a population of 1,500. The 
Fresno River is the principal irrigation water supply, helped out by the 
north fork of the San Joaquin, and Big Dry Creek as a tributarv of the 
Merced. 



276 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

New Idria was at the quicksilver mine in San Benito County in a region 
fit otherwise only for grazing. Inhabitants were mostly Cornish miners 
and Mexicans, the latter numbering 500 at times when the furnaces were 
in full operation. Stage line from Hollister via Big Panoche connected it 
with the outside world. New Idria was by annexation of territory lost to 
Fresno sequestered as it was in a remote pocket corner. The mine was long 
idle during the costly litigation to the United States Supreme Court of the 
McGarrahan title claim. Three quicksilver furnaces were in operation in 
1875. These were the $5,000 plant of the Little Panoche of 1874, the $10,000 
of 1873 of the Cerro Gordo in Moody Canyon and the $100,000 of 1858 of 
the New Idria on Silver Creek. 

Raymond in Madera was laid out by C. G. Miller in April, 1889, as the 
terminus town of the Yosemite division of the Southern Pacific from Berenda 
completed in the spring of 1885. The famous granite quarries are located 
near here. The staging and freighting that once animated Raymond exists 
no longer, Yosemite travel having been diverted and the mines and settle- 
ments in this section, once in the northeastern part of this county, 
depopulated. 

FRESNO EARLIER TRADING POINTS 

The old settlements of Fresno County were ephemeral and characteristic 
of the unsettled state of the times with their industrial revolutions. Not one 
has survived to become a notable factor in the subsequent great develop- 
ment of the county. 

The first settlement in the extensive Dry Creek stock and farming com- 
munity dates back to 1852 with John G. Simpson, W. L. L. Witt and William 
Harshfield, the latter returning later to Arkansas and Witt removing to 
the San Joaquin River. In 1856 they raised hay for sale to the Fort Miller 
garrison and then sold possessory ranch title to C. P. Converse, who for 
three years raised fodder for the fort and became a settler. The region was 
dotted with cross road trading stores, such as Jensen's among others, with 
a post office established at Big Dry Creek in 1870. In this foothill region 
were the settlement groupings of Academy named for the pioneer incorpo- 
rated school, Mississippi for the settlers from that state and Big Dry Creek. 
Irrigation never was run to this stretch of the county. It was the great dry 
farming region and prominent in the days of cattle and sheep. The Collins 
brothers had store, shearing and dipping corral at Collins' Station, also a 
stage halting point. Above Academy is a fine quarry of granite. The Dry 
Creek region was prominent in early days socially, and industrially and in 
all the better attributes of settlers in a new country. 

Firebaugh's Ferry on the San Joaquin was named for A. D. Firebaugh, 
who died in June, 1875, and years before conducted a ferry there. The vil- 
lage has been a dependent upon the great Miller & Lux cattle ranch along 
the river and the later grain and alfalfa and stock farms. It is one of the 
oldest sheep shearing stations for the annual season of six weeks. The 
Italian population predominates. At high water light steamers ran up the 
river in earlier days as far as W'hitesbridge, ten miles above on Fresno 
Slough, though practical navigation ended at the ferry drawbridge. It is 
not denied that town incorporated to place itself beyond the operation in 
the district of the Wylie local option law. 

Huron as the terminus of the Southern Pacific branch running west 
from Goshen was located in a desolate waste and has stood absolutely at 
a standstill. Considerable farming in cereals is done here with results in 
wet seasons: otherwise it is a sheep grazing region as most of the West 
Side land of the county is where petroleum has not been discovered. Huron 
was described in 1890 as "an embryo settlement." It has never passed that 
stage. A time was when trains ran beyond it to Coalinga three times a 
week. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 277 

Centerville or Kings River as tiie post office designated this pioneer 
settlement on the Upper Kings, was once the principal stopping place on the 
Stockton-Visalia line. With abandonment of the route and later location 
of the near by lumber mill town of Sanger on a branch railroad from Fresno 
the settlement has been buried in its past. Centerville is today a collection 
of ruinous, weather and time beaten, toppling rookeries of a past era. It had 
in 1882 a population of about 800, besides 300 Indians, one of the two reser- 
vations of early days having been located near here. Settlement was orig- 
inally named Scottsburg, a name changed to Centerville about 1870, and 
the post office serving all the Upper Kings River country. It was once the 
center of population of the county, outrivalling ^lilierton and controlling 
the county's political destinies. It had a flouring mill antedating the one 
at Selma, pioneered in irrigation because of its proximity to the river but 
was also subjected to inundations in wet winters in its bottom land loca- 
tion, which was considered unsurpassed for corn. The thrice moved settle- 
ment is located about sixteen miles from Fresno and at the base of the 
foothills bordering on -the Kings. Jesse Morrow erected in 1872 the three- 
story Centerville flouring mill at a cost of $22,000, using in the construction 
part of Sweem's mill further up on the stream. Centerville is the pioneer 
orange growing district. Its navel orange has high repute. It is largely 
populated by Japanese in the citrus nursery industry. In 1879 Fresno alone 
exceeded the old settlement in population. Centerville and its people con- 
tributed much to the county's history making. It was thought for years to 
be the center of the valley until survey accorded the distinction to the county 
seat. 

Saloonless Kingsburg on the line of the Southern Pacific, twenty miles 
southeast of the county seat and one mile and a half from the river for 
which named, was founded in August, 1873, by Josiah Draper, who moved 
to what was then called Kings River S\\itch run by the railroad on his land. 
He erected the first habitation of posts set in the ground and covered with 
willow brush. His purpose was to freight with teams to Jacobs & Einstein, 
merchants at Kingston west of the railroad. Some forty-eight carloads of 
grain raised in the vicinity of Grangeville were shipped from the switch 
during the season. The next nearest settlement was Centerville, only one 
other farmer having located near the switch to raise grain hay. The first 
store in the town was Simon Aaron's in the basement of Farley's hotel, the 
second Simon Harris' in a structure erected for him, and the third was a 
saloon. In the fall the railroad erected a station house cubby, a post office 
was established called Wheatville with Andrew Farley as postmaster, and 
Wells, Fargo & Company opened an office with Harris as agent. In the 
winter of 1874-75 two sections of land were put to wheat and barley. 

Irrigation was agitated in the spring of 1875 and twenty-four of the 
settlers organizing with the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company started 
work on June 21, 1875, on a canal. Eighteen months elapsed because of the 
heavy work before water was brought up, and about this time the village 
name of Wheatville was changed to Kingsburg. Water was sold to incor- 
porators for $250 per right represented in labor, and an annual tax of twenty- 
five dollars per share. Two dry seasons retarded the progress of the town. 
In 1878 another compan}' was formed and ditch pushed to completion in a 
dry summer. Water changed the drear aspect of the country and in 1880 
16,000 acres were in grain in the visinity, j'ielding 4,000 tons, with about a 
third more in 1881. In 1882 Kingsburg had a population of about 400, and 
was a grain shipping point, having in 1881 in three warehouses 7,000 tons 
or fourteen million centals of the grain output of the vicinity. Village was 
shipping point for the Tulare country and the Laguna de Tache grant, and 
a busy little place as a stage line station. Louis Einstein and Leo Gundel- 
finger were pioneer general merchants. It was an early beneficiary from 
irrigation in the Centerville and Kingsburg Irrigation Ditch Company. Lo- 



278 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

cated today in a fertile fruit and grape section, it is one of the loveliest vil- 
lages, and is a strong religious and moral community, the home of thrifty, 
industrious Swedes induced to locate through the efforts of the late F. D. 
Rosendahl. Kingsburg and Riverside colonies are prosperous syndicate 
enterprises. 

Kingston on the south bank of the river and twelve miles from Kings- 
burg was located in a fine body of farming land but held in large tracts 
for stock raising. Edward Erlanger erected a store there in 1875, but it 
was long before that the Kings River ferry crossing for all that section 
of country on the southern highway of travel back to very early days. It 
counted in 1876 one general store, two hotels, saloon, livery stable and sev- 
eral residences, and as late as 1879 was accounted "some place" with three 
hotels, of G. N. Furnish, John Potts and Louis Reichert. It was the scene of 
one of the Vasquez holdups. It is not on the railroad, wherefore Kingsburg 
extinguished its future, while later Laton displaced it as the trading point 
for the Laguna de Tache. Kingston is recalled only for its past. 

Riverdale, formerly known as Liberty Settlement, changed its name 
about 1875. It is located about twenty miles from Fresno near Cole's Slough, 
a branch of the Kings and ten miles from Kingsburg. It is an alfalfa and 
dairying country. 

Panoche VaHey post office and settlement was established in 1870 
with R. Burr as postmaster in a fertile and broad nook in the Mt. Diablo 
chain of the Coast Range on the AA'cst Side of the county. Stock raising and 
farming were and are the pursuits. All this country is now tributary to 
Coalinga. 

Tollhouse, picturesquely located at the foot of the first mountain of 
the Sierra base, is thirty-two miles from Fresno and was in its day a bustling 
lumber depot and shipping point for the mills on Pine Ridge. Its 1868 found- 
ers were Henry Glass as blacksmith and A. C. Yancey as the hotelkeeper. 
In 1882 250 and more found employment and had homes there, and it had 
a tri-weekly stage mail service. M. J- Donahoo built there in 1876 a steam 
planing mill. Thousands have traveled over the old Pine Ridge road to 
the pineries in the Sierras, chartered in 1866 and sold to the county in 1878, 
with the stage line and the freighting traffic with the mills adding to the 
life of the place. Tollhouse was to the Sierra lumber region what Miller- 
ton was to the county, Centerville to the Upper Kings, Dry Creek to the 
foothill region, and Kingston to the Lower Kings. Many a pioneer lies at 
rest in the little cemetery there. 

Wildflower, postoffice name of Duke Settlement on the Emigrant Ditch, 
twelve miles south of Fresno, was a cattle and grain country. Its original 
settlers were people from the South. General farming and stock raising 
followed up irrigation. 

In 1876-78 Millerton was still classed in statistical works as a town of 
Fresno but with the fort as the postoffice and Charles A. Hart as postmaster. 
It was hoped that it would not "entirely disappear" as a town with its mines, 
forests and fertile soil surroundings but in vain. Its Chinese quarter held 
out to the very last. In 1879 it was a deserted village beyond the wildest 
hope of resurrection short of a miracle. 

Markwood Meadows in the high mountains, fourteen miles east of Toll- 
house on the stockmen's earliest trail to the Sierras, form a plateau of 
preserved virgin forest land and for years have been a favorite summer re- 
sort for campers, as was Dinkey Creek in the same locality. W'ith the de- 
nudation of the timber by the mills, the Meadows are a veritable mountain 
oasis. 

Pleasant Valley in the mountain range with New Idria and Panoche 
was a flourishing stockraising settlement. It is an agricultural tributar}' to 
Coalinga. 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 279 

Sycamore located in 1872, postofficed in September as Palo Blanco, was 
a ferry station on the south bank of the San Joaquin at the head of river 
navigation. Much was expected of it, but the location of Fresno and the 
failure of the big irrigation enterprise on the river doomed it. 

Watson's Ferry as the head of steamboat navigation on the San Joaquin, 
eight miles above Firebaugh on Fresno Slough, was a busy shearing station, 
200,000 sheep having been sheared in a season. 

^^'hitesbridge, ten miles above Firebaugh on Fresno Slough, derives its 
name from the bridge erected by James R. \Maite, who came a pioneer to 
Fresno from Alariposa. It was a sheepshearing station, the clip shipped to 
market by steamer. It is a stock and alfalfa country. 



CHAPTER XLVIII 

Phantom Shelbyville Recall.s a Widespread Swindle of the 
L.A.ND Boom D.avs. It Wa.s a Lottery Conception of an East- 
ern Circuit Theatrical Man. Town Had No Existence 
Save in the Mind and on a Filed Map. Site Has Long Re- 
verted to the State for Unpaid Taxes. Not for Years Have 
the Lots Been on the Assessment Roll. Fresno as the 
First Town Lncorporated in the County. Chance Discov- 
ery of Earliest Recorded Townsite on Dry Creek in 1865. 

Shelbyville? Have you never heard of the phantom town in Fresno 
that had existence only in an imaginative brain, and on a beautifully designed 
plat in the county recorder's office? 

Shelbyville has been a standing joke at the county courthouse since 
about 1890 to recall one great swindle of the land boom era, for there were 
others as the Holland Colony scheme. Hundreds have had deeds to Shelby- 
ville town lots, and mailing them for recording from all parts of the United 
States on the bare supposition that they had a valuable present or prospec- 
tive property learned sorrowfully that they had long before forfeited to the 
state for non-payment of taxes, and title deed was not worth the postage 
wasted on the letter of inquiry. Ever)' now and then one of these deeds 
comes by mail to the surface with anxious inquiry as to the value of the 
lot or lots that it calls for. So numerous once were these inquiries that the 
recorder had printed slips run off of a newspaper account of the story of 
Phantom Shelbyville and printed slip was sent to enlighten the inquirer. 
Shelbyville is a part of the history of the land boom in Fresno, when $100 
was paid in gold for what in land would normally have been worth at most 
ten dollars. 

Shelbyville was the brilliant conception of a theatrical man on the 
circuit of the Central states as Indiana and Illinois, Ohio and Nebraska. 
Having drifted through Fresno, he conceived the idea of tempting people to 
liis show with a gift lottery proposition in which Fresno County, then 
springing into prominence as an agricultural country, flowing with milk and 
honey, was to figure. Every one patronizing his show was given opportunity 
to become a lot owner in Shelbyville, Fresno, Cal., so beautifully and regu- 
larly laid out on plat as a city within close distance from the Raisin Center. 
The townsite was and is a desert waste. There are never lacking people 
with eyes wide open to secure something for nothing, and these wise ones 
argued that if they could obtain a town lot for nothing in Sunny California 
and in the great and fertile San Joaquin Valley they could either sell out- 
right for a good sum of money or take possession and await destiny. 



280 HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 

The philanthropist who was deeding away lots thus had good title, and 
in fact made more money out of the scheme than has any owner of a lot 
in the visionary town. The highest value ever placed during the boom 
times on a Shelbyville lot was four dollars, and the big hearted, aforesaid 
philanthropist collected almost as much from every lot owner for deed, 
notarial attestation and seal. Hundreds of such deeds are in the recorder's 
office with recording fee unpaid. The greater part of the townsite is owned 
by the state, having reverted to it for delinquent taxes. Lots are not worth 
the taxes assessed against them, and how little that is may be computed on 
an assessed four-dollar valuation, the highest ever placed on them, with a 
rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents to one dollar and forty cents on the 
$100. If all the taxes on deeded lots were paid, it would hot compensate 
for the services of the deputy's handling of the assessment book covering the 
property. 

There is in Indiana a town called Shelbyville, and it may have given 
title-name to the scheme. The printed deeds that floated in were indorsed 
"Dan'l of Shelby," probably some theatrical character name. The scheme 
was a gold mine for the speculator, who had bought the land for a song 
very likely, and turned the title deed on a subdivision principle loose among 
gullible patrons who attended his show anyhow. The name of the enter- 
prising showman was Guy Webber, who described himself as of Jersey 
City, Hudson County, N. Y. Earlier deeds were made in his name as grantor. 
After a time, they were in the name of one Hoytt, and lastly in that of one 
W. H. Whetstone. Webber was not long in the enjoyment of his monopoly 
for a similar theatrical swindle was operated in connection with the mythical 
town of Sam'l of Posen in some part of California. As to title, Webber 
could read that clear. He bought and paid for it. and had the deed recorded, 
but as to the value that is quite another story. 

The townsite was in view from the Jameson depot of the Southern 
Pacific, one-half mile northeast of it, and between the depot and the San 
Joaquin River, covering four sections or 2,560 acres, less half a section 
immediately contiguous to the depot. It was described as the purest alkali 
land, on which not even a mortgage or salt grass could be raised, and not 
unlike the country around the Dead Sea in Palestine, where the birds fly 
high in passing over it. West and south of Jameson station, there is good 
land, within half a mile of the depot, but Shelbyville was in a class of its 
own. Value it had once as grazing land, but with the bringing of water 
for irrigation the alkali in the subsoil was forced to the top and not a blade 
of grass was on the land. The leanest and hungriest coyote or jack-rabbit 
that crossed the plain to the wheat ranches beyond made detour rather than 
shortcut across inhospitable and desert Shelbyville. 

By the time that lot and lottery victims became acquainted with Whet- 
stone in the scheme, the panic of 1902 was on. Of the hundreds of non- 
resident lot owners, few kept up tax payments and in large part the town- 
site was sold to the state for the unpaid taxes. Indeed so valueless were 
the lots that the assessor has not listed them for years. The recorder has 
at times been deluged with inquiries as to the cash value of them, and ex- 
pressing readiness to part with them for anything from fifty dollars to 
$5,000. ]\Iost of the inquiries came in from 1892 to 1894, but every now 
and then one bobs up serenely. Assessed once at four dollars per lot, it 
was pay taxes with the back claims or quit. They quit, and this is why 
the state came in and why the site is sacred to the cuckoo owl, the coyote 
and the nomadic and rattle-headed jack rabbit. It was a wide spread and 
successful swindle, and its promoters probably justified themselves by plead- 
ing that no one really suflered much. Those that attended the show had 
their entertainment for their money, some drew lots in Shelbyville and 
were out only two dollars with about as much more- for a deed to a piece 
of land surely worth that much. Very much like the ancient justification 



HISTORY OF FRESNO COUNTY 281 

of fox hunting — the huntsmen liked it, tlie hounds like it also, and it has 
never been proved that the fox entertained other views. 

It is a noteworthy circumstance that until Fresno City took the step 
after several preliminary failures in that direction, there was no incorporated 
town in the county from 1856 to 1885. Millerton, though county seat, never 
assumed that dignity, never had a board of councilmen with chairman as 
ex-officio mayor, and never any town governmental supervision save such 
as the county supervisors chose to bestow upon it. Fresno followed Miller- 
ton's example for thirteen years until it incorporated. Millerton could not 
assert to have had a townsite in which anyone owned a foot of earth, because 
it was on unsurveyed government land and holdings were no more secure 
or substantial than possessory claims. The county was a notorious trespasser 
when it erected the courthouse on Uncle Sam's domain without as much 
as by your leave. 

Which recalls the discovery in the examinations of filings in the data 
preparation for this history that the earliest recorded townsite in the county 
is that of Jnne 14, 1865, by George Rivercombe of Georgetown, of thirteen 
lots on Jones' Flat west of Big Dry Creek. Discovery was made in the 
record book of mining claims. Lots one to seven, each fifty by 100, ran 
back to the hills, and eight to thirteen to the creek, lots located on both 
sides of a central street. The ink sketched townsite notes the existence of a 
"China house" on lot eleven, and south of townsite and at right angles with 
it marks out a 400-foot wide mill lot. The lot owning locators were ; J- D- 
Woodworth, Henry Burroughs, Ira McCray, Dr. Lewis Leach, William 
Faymonville, and Rivercombe. It was probably a mining camp, but the old- 
est Dry Creek pioneer has no recollection of it and the record might not 
have come "to light but for an accidental discovery. 

Only a few years ago, a mild craze followed the publication and circu- 
lation of a government bulletin telling of the money possibilities in a 
commercialization of the eucalyptus. Stock corporations were formed. Land 
was bought on option agreements or long term contracts. Eucalypti groves 
were planted. Craze died out. Corporations disincorporated or forfeited